Galatians 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Colossians 3:12-15 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Saturday evening, in a phone conversation with another blogger (I don’t remember all of the details but this is the basic situation) I learned of an incredible deliverance that the Lord worked on a local saint who had been battling bitterness and other things for a long time. Not wanting to appear out of sorts before the other saints in her fellowship, she neglected to seek help for this and it continued to fester out of sight. The telling of this mighty deliverance was incredible and it got me to thinking of how important it is for us to be sincere with each other. To lift each other up in prayer at every rememberance and not be caught up in showmanship. We all wrestle with a carnal law that abides in our members and an enemy who will take advantage of any opportunity presented to him to set up shop and wreck havoc in our lives.
This morning, Pastor Troyer delivered a message on forgiveness; an absolute as our forgiveness is directly tied to how we forgive others. Near the end, he told an account of Corey Ten Boom who, along with her sister, was held in a Nazi concentration camp during the second world war. (Her sister didn’t survive this ordeal) Years later, Corey came face to face with one of the cruelest guards of that camp who had inflicted both her and her sister mercilessly. The man asked for forgiveness and at first Corey could “feel the cold” gripping her heart. But when she “almost mechanically” took his hand, suddenly the power of the living God broke through and she completely forgave this former guard of everything. By the grace of God, she “let it all go.” She later stated words to the effect of “This man asked to be set free and I was the one who needed to be set free.” I’m doing this story an injustice as Pastor Troyer was much more detailed in telling the account. Nonetheless, it’s a mesage that I’ll never forget.
In the blogroll, there’s a writing by Corey Ten Boom which is very interesting and tells a few details of their ordeal in the concentration camp. (Although the above acount isn’t covered in this particular writing)
The power of forgiveness. To just let it go when we’ve been wronged; knowing that we are sinners saved by grace. Remembering that we were headed for an eternity without God, until one day, when Jesus knocked on the door of our heart and said “follow me.” Between the phone conversation Saturday evening and the message this morning, I came to realize just how easily things can get lodged in our heart. A tiny seed of bitterness, a little shread of envy, a tiny dash of pride. So tiny that they slip beneath our spiritual radar and take up residence in our heart. There, undetected, they grow and, in the course of time, begin to bear fruit. Fruit that we may be tempted to hide as to retain a religious facade.
Hebrews 12:14-15 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
Anyone who has been involved with a holiness church (been there) will recognize the first verse. Yet the second speaks to the very heart of the matter. A root is something that grows out of sight. Like dandelions which have a deep root; penetrating over three feet into the ground. Conventional methods of removal fail as that root just sprouts a new plant. (Actually dandelions dont bother me, but my wife doesn’t like them at all.) It’s fascinating that the term “root”is used here. Hiding undetected, wrecking havoc in the life of the person harboring it and influencing those with whom the person is in contact. This verse from Proverbs has been quoted ever so many times, but here it is again:
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Matthew 18:35 “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Serious business and something that each one of us must be on the lookout for. I’m reminded of an incident that took place in Virginia back in 1987 or 1988. In a deceptive maneuver, two guys whom I sincerely thought needed assistance, used a situation to get a notable amount of currency from me. (They saw me coming) This really bothered me; not so much the monitary aspect, but rather the “taking advantage of one who’se trying to offer help.” I knew that I had to let it go, but it was really hard. For a couple of years afterwards, each time it came to mind, it bothered me. Yet it was a lesson learned, that we cannot allow attitudes to linger as they can have lasting ramifications. In hindsight, it seems quite silly to have allowed something so trivial to “get to me,” but at the time it tested the limits of my spirituality.
This reminds me of a point that Pastor troyer mentioned as well. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll forget that something took place, but rather how we react to it. Concerning the above situation; I still remember how it played out, however, it has no bearing on me. Rather, it’s my sincere prayer that those individuals have met Jesus. In fact, it would be so cool; I mean “SO COOL” to see them in glory; new creatures in Christ Jesus. I pray that such will be the case. Seeing the eternal picture makes “letting go” a whole lot easier.
Forgiveness is basic fundamental truth. Jesus went to the cross to pay for our sins; so that we can be forgiven. We likewise must forgive others. Yet we never know when we may be suddenly faced with a situation in which we’ll be the recipient of a grievous injustice and be called upon to “let it go.” To do as Jesus said and “turn the other cheek.” This is one thing that has been attracting Muslims to Jesus. Islam teaches repaying an injustice twofold while Jesus tells us, “if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” This means that if it’s snowing outside, we’re going to be cold, but this is far better than harboring unwanted hitchhikers like anger and vengeance. Not to mention the witness for Jesus that will ensue as we don’t retaliate like most would.
Well. it’s time to go. I’m doing this Sunday evening as to get some things done tomorrow, such as feeding the goats on time. (lol) I’ll close with a passage from the sermon on the mount which will be addressed later, but it bears repeating here as well. Until next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” WOW and AMEN!