THE WALK OF FORGIVENESS III
We asked the question in part seventeen; “could unforgiveness be at the core of the church’s spiritual “heart disease”? And I believe we are seeing how this deception is truly causing many of God’s people to be lethargic to His presence and live in a dangerous lukewarm condition. Could this be the reason that many have lost interest in the things of God? Could this be a cause of the love of many to “wax” or become cold toward everyone and everything? “And then shall many be OFFENDED and shall betray one another and shall HATE one another. And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that endures to the end, the same will be saved.” (Mathew 24:10-13) I believe the spiritual life can be compared to a flame of fire that when someone makes the choice to be close to God it burns the brightest and when we allow ourself to drift away from Him we grow dim. The Lord does not move away from us – it is the sin in our life that causes the distance. Jesus died to become the bridge to connect God and man and His great love is always trying to reach out toward us. But it is the free-will of our mind that decides our level of commitment and how much we love Him.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, (The day of Christ coming) except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (II Thessalonians 2:3) So, what does it mean to fall away and how far can we fall? This particular “falling away” means that what you have always believed and trusted in, no longer convicts you or stirs you like it used to. It is re-arranging our world-views under the inspiration and deception that God has not always come through and that His Word is filled with exceptions and broken promises. This is not a spiritually healthy place to live because becoming indifferent to God and His Word (for whatever reason) is actually being offended which of course leads to resentment. When people think a certain way and their dreams do not become fulfilled it can cause us to believe that justice was NOT served by God. If anyone chooses to dwell about how unfair something is and makes a conscious decision to blame God – I promise it will not end up on a good note. But just exactly whose standard of justice are we comparing it to? Did we create the perfect measuring system for good and evil? When we are offended at God are we saying that we know more than Him? Some might have waited for a miracle or for their visions to be manifested and when things did not turn out they lost their cozy, fuzzy feeling they were having in their relationship with Christ, (which is losing faith, hope and love). In these last days I believe discouragement will cause people to fall away and will come from a root of bitterness toward Him.
We can say so far that unforgiveness causes people to have a cold-hearted lack of love and to lose an interest in God Himself which leads to being back-slidden and lukewarm. Seeing the world as a place that is growing darker and more distant from God especially with all of these people that are turning away from Him is somewhat unsettling but we also cannot live in a mentality of denial. The facts are that as time goes on, the Word of God and we as His faithful disciples will be more hated than ever. Our faith will be challenged everytime we speak and in everything we do because the offense, hatred and bitterness is increasing! This is the word of the hour; Let us stay alert and guard against the temptations to become depressed. It is time to stop “mourning” over our emotions and transfer this energy into praying for the burden for lost souls. Selah. Unforgiveness centers its attention on our feelings and closes everything else out until we can somehow “win” our case. Without finding our justification these personal wounds become internal contention, dissention and discord within the conscience that can grow and last a lifetime. Today is the day to repent for any ill feelings toward anyone especially the Lord! Could this be an example of the spots and wrinkles of the brides wedding gown that Christ said would be “cleaned” before His return? I believe so.
Love is the indentification of the Christian because we should be filled with God’s love. If we have no love – we have no God! And, we will not trust someone we do not know which means that faith comes from developing an intimate relationship with Him. Loving Him with all our heart and trusting that He loves us is the bond of our relationship. But yet there are many that have looked around at life and are convinced that God is NOT loving or intervening like He should and so they are upset. Maybe it is because they are more focused on what He can give (or what they want Him to do) instead of who He is! Selah. Let me say this, if something has gone wrong there is a good chance that it was our fault to begin with or we have not handled it the right way. If something did not go right in our life it was NOT that God failed because that is impossible! It is time for all people to be accountable for their own failures and it is time to admit that if anyone failed it was us! Sin closes doors and prevents people to achieve what God wanted them to do. He can only advance someone if they are in the spiritual “position” to receive the mantle of wisdom, anointing, maturity and responsibility to handle their calling. How can God invite someone into the holy of holies and be a front line warrior for His Kingdom if their heart is filled with unforgiveness? What about getting angry with other people’s driving, a neighbor that aggravates you or someone has borrowed something and has not returned it? These seeds can grow into resentment and needs to be dealt with immediately. It is time to stop fighting against the devil with carnal weapons. Attempting to prove that we are right or trying to “make” things right will wear us out and cause us yet more misery. We can paint it, patch it and spit shine it, but it is still the sin of resentment and it can build a brick wall between us and the peace that passes all understanding. It is time to bring in the wrecking ball and demolish this wall of being offended by falling at Jesus feet in Godly sorrow so that we can ABIDE in His peace and freedom. The ways of God are usually the opposite from the way we think. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the MERCIFUL: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the PURE in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall REVILE and PERSECUTE you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mathew 5:3-12)
Let us go on and identify other examples of how unforgiveness can be planted in our mind. For instance; someone very close is taken away, we are rejected by someone we love, a boss or a family member backstabs us or tries to ruin our reputation, a betrayal in a business deal or our marriage, being abused in any way, being robbed, violated or someone destroyed something of yours very precious, being disrespected or someone has hurt you so bad that you wince in pain everytime it crosses your mind. Maybe someone you looked up to failed miserably and you cannot get over it. The list could go on, but the point is that in your conscience you have been inocently wounded and now you honestly believe that justice must be served – and you may be correct. But we must let them go by handing them over to God and trusting that He will deal with them in HIS way. Unforgiveness can cause us to go through life believing the ones who have offended our heart need to “settle the score” with us so that we can find the deep comfort and justice we are desperately trying to find. But is revenge ok in God’s eyes? Capitol punishment believes that since we have been violated it is our right to see them suffer. Can we sincerely forgive and still desire to see them pay? Let us see that the principal of sowing and reaping means so much more than we think. “As you would that men should do to you, do also to them likewise. For if you love them which love you, what have you accomplished? For sinners also love those who love them. And if you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have you? For sinners also do even the same. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thank have you? For sinners also lend to sinners to receive as much again. But LOVE your enemies and do good and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not and you shall not be judged: Condemn not and you shall not be condemned: FORGIVE AND YOU SHALL BE FORGIVEN. Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over shall men give unto your bosom. FOR WITH THE SAME MEASURE THAT YOU USE IN MEASURING ANYTHING IT SHALL BE MEASURED TO YOU AGAIN.” (Luke 6: 31 -38)
How we react to the way people treat us has everything to do with how close we are to God and how well we will “run the race” to our destiny. Could there be hidden in the deep recesses of our heart a bad attitude of pride or rebellion from being hurt and we can’t understand why God seems so far away? These are places we do not want to deal with but He cannot overlook sin because He is so HOLY and is waiting for us to make the first move. Take the time today to go to a private place with Jesus and pour out your heart to Him. Take a walk and talk to Him about it – He will tell you what to do. Ask Him to help you completely forgive and allow Him to lead you into His perfect love, peace, wisdom and restoration. He is El Nose’ our God of forgiveness and Jehovah Rapha who can heal all things. Amen.