Thursday, April 19, 2012

--> Clever Attention Grabbing Title Goes Here<--

Eh, close enough. 

"There is a difference between trying to forgive, and not forgiving"

A  pretty good friend of mine said that at a bible study recently and it rang as truth to my heart. I had been talking about a falling out with an old and dear friend of mine. I mentioned that sometimes I am still angry about that and I was trying to wrap my head around if the anger was a result of unforgiveness. I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness and what the details on that are. As always, I want to preface what I put together here as the way that I see it. I don't claim to be any sort of bible scholar, so if it applies to you, take it to heart and if not, then keep on keeping on... I'm not here to judge.

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  
 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.  Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
-Matthew 5

I Know that I have been angry with people. I know that i have called people worthless, and I know that I have said for worse than calling someone a fool. 
From this passage in Matthew 5 I have seen where I have personally failed in both rolls. I know that I have have said a billion terrible things and hurt a million different people with careless words.  I know that I have on occasion not taken the branch offered to me of forgiveness. Instead of looking at the offer of moving past the situation, I have looked at my hurt and seen how bad it was... and that they were responsible.  
And what about the people that weren't repentant. Instead of turning it over to the judge ( God) to handing the ruling in his justice ( because lets face it, there have been times I have had things against people, and I was completely in the wrong.) and submitting to God for that ruling... I've flown off the handle with the Muratore style justice with lots of hitting and swearing. At that point, I haven't acted accordingly. I have taken justice into my hands and as awesome as I think Batman is, vigilante justice isn't something that the bible endorses. 

Continuing on in that line of thinking, here are more ways that I have failed

“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
( Muratore style justice eyes and teeth and an arm for a tooth. Also, it is wrong, very very wrong)

But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.  Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.    “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And there in detail is the biography of every man, how we have all failed.  I should title this post " Dear Diary, I sure do suck at this"  This is the exact opposite of what we are taught. We are raised up in this world with the " don't tread on me" mentality and "give as good as you get"  These are the principles of fleshly thinking. 

Love your enemies and PRAY for those who persecute you.

I've even failed at that. I've prayed for them alright. I've prayed that God mess em up. God get em good. God, hit them in the way I want to but can't because I don't wanna be unholy.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’  And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.  But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’  So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’  But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’  And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
- Matthew 18 

We're slaves. God is our master. We are constantly sinning against him and in HIS debt. We beg for HIS grace and HIS mercy. If we are honest we know that we are perpetually going against his commands and the way of the Messiah. If we say we aren't, then odds are pretty good that we're lying and guilty of pride.  If we beg him for forgiveness for all the things we do... why is it that we are so quick to choke out those who wrong us? Why do we demand their payment when we likewise are guilty.  When I'm wronged, most of the time there isn't any doubt in my mind that they owe me .. or they better make it right...  but when I demand that of them, Am I really acting int he character of the Master who has set me free from my incursion of debt that demanded MY life?  At the end it even specifies that it is an incurrence of more debt upon me that I demand it of those who have sinned against me.  This is echoed in proverbs...

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
  -Proverbs 17

The demonstration of Love for my brothers and others, when nurtured says to let go of the demand of repayment. I can attest that as I harped on one issue that I was wronged in for years, people left me saying, " I'm tired of hearing about this, you need to get over it" I was separated from some really good friends. Yet, God be praised, not separated beyond God's restorative properties.

This is echoed in Peters writings

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
- 2 Pete 1

 And again, there it is. why years of heartache occurred within me. I was short sighted and lacking in love.  I was drawing short in brotherly kindness.  In demanding things of my brothers, I think that in essence, I was asking them to serve me... and I lost sight of the fact that I am no mans master, but I myself am a slave.  I think it again, touches on that pride condition that I occasionally have.  You know, where I think that I am something, but am actually nothing.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful....

-Colossians 3.

I know I haven't done all this.  I know that i have failed at this. I know that I still fail at this, and if you read this and are nodding a long with all my confessions of how I have failed, because I have wronged you, then know that I am sorry.  I read that passage above and what I see is that the the heart cannot and will not find rest until it in FIRMLY in the Hands of God. That isn't to say that he won't make me uncomfortable for my own benefit...

 ...Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father

 Yeah...  I certainly wasn't beating up people in the name of the savior, and When I was swearing my face off and spitting in contempt ... yeah... that wasn't in gratitude to God the Father.

Swear, in almost every post I write I get convicted about something. I take comfort in that fact knowing that God isn't givin up on me or anything. I am not beyond salvage or restoration.

Now I'm sitting here thinking about the hard heartedness of the Pharisees that condemned the Messiah. What if that is what I'm like when I don't forgive. I was asking a Friend of mine what she thought about forgiveness and she mentioned the Pharisees. What if they condemned the Savior because they wouldn't forgive him for offending them.. even though he offended them with the truth.  Pride was killing those people too. 

 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.
-Mark 11 

IF we have anything against any one, Forgive them.  If our heart isn't reflecting that of the creator, what are we talking to him about?  

Isn't that the very much the same line as this:

 ‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.  You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. - Leviticus 19

 In conclusion, 

I see no biblical account in which I should hold a grudge against anyone.  If we in the church are to judge one another, we are to do in the way that the Savoir has, with Grace, mercy and forgiveness.  

There is a difference between unforgiveness and trying to forgive. One is defiance, and one is the process of crucifying the flesh and surrendering a situation to God and stepping out of the way, letting him heal the broken parts.

Now I'll be up half the night thinking about if we go making it right before we talk to God, or we talk to God about helping us get to the right heart where we can forgive, to go make it right, then come back to God.

One way or another .. There has to be talking to God.  That is what I have been learning the past 7 months.


  1. Galatians 2:20

    I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    So, if we are crucified with Christ, and HE lives, not us, And HE forgives

  2. Amen. Thanks, Jay!
    My favorite part was the very end - the talking with God..
    And may I include, walking with Him, too:)

    He is always pulling us towards love, and kindness. What a great, great, God.