And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:12, 14- 15).
Lest I forget… You can now follow this link http://www.biblewalking.com/whose-is-the-land.html to the article by David Hocking: “What the Bible Says About Israel” – ISRAEL AND ITS LAND. The document has been repaired so that it will open. Look at twelve facts about God’s covenant with Israel that Christians today should know. Give it a few seconds to come up. And now, to the article for today.
Is forgiving people a lost art among Christians? Is forgiveness something we expect from God, but we don’t do forgiveness ourselves? Are you stuck with unforgiveness like the cow in our picture for today? You know you’re supposed to forgive but you can’t let it go? Forgiving someone can be expensive. Anger gives us a sense of power and we’re not about to relinquish the power over someone who has offended us.
An angry dog will hold the throat of another dog until the dog on the bottom relaxes: then he’ll let go. That’s submission as practiced among dogs. Of course, some dogs will never let go until the other dog is dead. Ideally, two people who are mad at each other should forgive each other and move on. That’s called: reconciliation. But all forgiveness does not end in reconciliation. Grudges are held against those who have been dead for years. No reconciliation there, but forgiveness is needed for the sake of the one yet living.
But, if one wants to hold a grudge, the other one can forgive the unforgiving one and rid himself of the burden of a grudge. Grudges can affect the chemistry of the body in a very negative way. I’ve been reading medical reports about this for years and it appears that at least some arthritis can have a grudge connection, as well as heart disease, our number one killer. Carrying a pocket full of rocks around can be burdensome and it can rub the skin off your leg.
I’m going to forgive you for a selfish reason: I don’t want to carry the burden of it the rest of my life. Life is too short for that. If you want to hold a grudge against my stupidity, you’ll just have to carry your rocks by yourself. (When governments carry out prison sentences and executions for capital crimes, this is not to be confused with what God has instructed individuals to do.)
Sometimes life can be a mixed-up mess! Things come at us that are unfair and unjust. How do we handle that? We may find ourselves in court arguing for justice. (Christians in court against Christians is another matter.) But when we, as individuals have conflict, we must process it some way. Usually an attack on us will produce anger in us. Anger within itself is not a sin. It’s what we do while we are angry that is important. Sustained anger can result in a permanent anger and we call that “a root of bitterness.” A root of bitterness is a no-no.
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; (Hebrews 12:14-15)
It is a characteristic of a genuinely born-again believer that we follow peace with all men and follow after holiness (Hebrews 12:14). This takes place at the moment of conversion when a person repents and turns to the Lord. Somehow, we know that is the direction we must travel the rest of our lives. We are not automatically locked into a behavior like a robot. But in our spirit, we know and follow a new direction: peace with all men and holiness.
We have been born of the Spirit of God and part of the New Birth is a new nature in our souls. We still have the old, self-centered nature and alongside that is a new nature that is incompatible with the old nature. Peter put it like this: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2Pe 1:4)
Unless that has taken place, conversion has not taken place: (without which no man shall see the Lord:) This does not mean that, as a Christian, we will never again become angry but that when we become angry our new nature and the Holy Spirit urges us to let it go and not hold onto it.
God does not mince words about human grudge-holding. Holding a grudge beyond one day of anger is repugnant to God. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Ephesians 4:26) This appears to be talking about the average, daily bumping into one another. If someone kills a member of your family or molests one of your children, it is going to take more than a day to get over it and you are going to need a special act of God to help you forgive.
When Jesus died on the cross, He died as the God-man. He was God in the flesh and it was His human side that suffered pain and from which the blood ran down. We cannot understand all of that. He prayed in his bloody agony: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Be careful in saying you know all about that because it may not be as simple as it looks. He did pray that and when He prayed, there is a sense in which He let it go. It did not result in reconciliation between God and the Christ killers.
But, Jesus prayed: “forgive them.” Does this mean that they were to be forgiven without repentance? No. But, clearly, Jesus was setting the stage for something good to happen to these blinded people who did not clearly understand the enormity of what they were doing.
Difficult passages in the Scriptures pop up in the most unlikely places, sometimes. This is one of them. Only the Roman Centurion had any thoughts about them putting God to death. But no one had repented. And yet, Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them.”
MacArthur comments on this difficult passage:
forgive them. I.e., His tormentors, both Jews and Romans (cf. Act_7:60). Some of the fruit of this prayer would be in the salvation of thousands of people in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Act_2:41).
they do not know what they do. I.e., they were not aware of the full scope of their wickedness. They did not recognize Him as the true Messiah (Acts_13:27-28). They were blind to the light of divine truth, "For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1Cor_2:8). Still, their ignorance certainly did not mean that they deserved forgiveness; rather, their spiritual blindness itself was a manifestation of their guilt (John_3:19). But Christ's prayer, while they were in the very act of mocking Him, is an expression of the boundless compassion of divine grace.”
The God-man on the cross was saying to His Father, I hold no grudge against my tormentors. No reconciliation took place then, but for those who would later open their eyes and repent, their forgiveness was already packaged for them to receive.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32). Do the expensive thing: forgive. God has forgiven us (those who have yielded to Him as Savior and Lord) and because of that we are to forgive others. This makes forgiving someone a very expensive thing for us. It may be the most expensive thing we will ever do: forgiving others of their misdeeds against us because Christ has forgiven us.
When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he gave them a blueprint for prayer and right in the middle of it he threw in these dreaded words: “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
A grudge holder cannot be saved. One who has become a grudge holder after he/she has been saved cannot fellowship with God until that one has forgiven. We can forget about God hearing a word we say until we forgive. Holding a grudge against another is a sin against God and He holds it as a barrier between Him and us until we decide to deal with it. A big fuss in the car on the way to church is not the way to sing Amazing Grace.
And, don’t bother to give God your morning offering until you obey God about forgiving. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (Mat 5:23-24) In this case, forgiveness and reconciliation were to take place. Reconciliation can take place if both are of the same mind to forgive. If reconciliation cannot take place, at least there can be a one-sided forgiveness.
Some things we are to put completely out of our lives: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:31-32). Do the expensive thing: forgive. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
October 10, 2017 - TUESDAY
A.M. Isaiah 43-44 P.M. Colossians 2
(BIBLE GATEWAY will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear (confess). (Isaiah 45:22-23)
Song for Today:
Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross (3:21) (Smucker Family)
(Wait a few seconds for it to come on.)
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father…