We survived another Christmas … YAY!!
I got several requests to post these entries (that I did on my radio segment earlier this month) on my BLOG, so here is the last one (the previous two were posted Monday and Tuesday):
Gift of Forgiveness
How many pounds of unforgiveness are you carrying? The hurt and bitterness really don’t weigh much at all at first. Usually our first memories of being hurt are from childhood. Your best friend broke your favorite toy and didn’t apologize. Your parents made a promise they couldn’t or didn’t keep. Then as we get older, we add the boyfriend that cheated on you. The teacher that just didn’t like you and wouldn’t help you get a better grade in their class. Now, as adults, we seemingly keep adding up all the wrongs that have been done to us. The abusive husband, the nasty divorce, the new husband’s ex-wife, etc. Then let’s pile on the people that just don’t know how to drive, how to park, have no customer service savvy. Wow, that’s quite a load we end up carrying. I feel loaded down, burdened, and hunched over just thinking about all of that weight.
The gift I would like you to have today is the gift of forgiveness. It will take pounds off and add years to your life. The beauty of this gift is twofold…not only will it help you to look at others in your life differently, it will also be extended to you when you mess up and hurt someone else.
God’s shows example after example of His forgiveness to lost and sinful people. David was an adulterer and murderer – and yet forgiven. The Israelites couldn’t focus on God for very long before they were complaining about something or building gold cows – and yet forgiven. In John, chapter 4, the Samaritan woman at the well. She had gone through five husbands and was currently living with the next – and yet forgiven. The thief on the cross when Jesus was crucified had lived a life of stealing and who knows what all else – and yet forgiven.
Adulterers, idolators, murderers, thieves. I’m sure most of you do not fit into those categories, but be careful. Satan has a very deceitful way of making us feel that we are really pretty good people. We need to remember that our pride, envy, lust, anger, greed and slothfulness are all sin. Proverbs 6:16-19 shares seven sins that the Lord finds detestable…”eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil pots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.” Galatians 5:19-21 adds to the list…”sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” So I may not get drunk and practice witchcraft…but within my heart I must confess that there is jealousy, greed, selfish ambition and unfortunately, many more sins that I have either been blind to or just refuse to see. James 2:10 reminds us that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it”.
Finally, Matthew 6:14-15 explains very clearly about forgiveness…”For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Do you see my point today? Your unwillingness to forgive others will weigh you down. Your own sin will break you down. But the gift of forgiveness will break chains of bondage and let you live and breathe in freedom. Freedom to be you and freedom to let others be human and offer them forgiveness as well.