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Monday, September 19, 2011

Give Forgiveness (What'cha doin' with that rock?)



Of all the things the modern church needs to stop procrastinating with, it's forgiveness!  Christ DIED for FORGIVENESS!  Some friends brought a paralytic to Jesus and what was the first thing he said? "Take heart my son, your sins are forgiven."  We live forgiven lives, because of Jesus death - His blood shed for the forgiveness of our sin.  Do we hold his death in contempt when we withhold forgiveness from others?

Sunday we dealt with this issue of forgiveness.  Not one of us can escape.  We all need to forgive. We MUST! No evil could be done to us that cannot be forgiven.  Yet, because we've been hurt, we will hold on to a grudge or a conflict because it helps us justify our pain.  There are couple tricks our enemy likes to use to encourage us down a path of unforgiveness.
  1. We can hold it over their head. - Somehow we have allowed ourselves to be convinced that withholding forgiveness gives us power over the person who hurt us.  That is a Lie!  An unforgiving heart is not empowered, It's imprisoned! 
  2. Withholding forgiveness legitimizes my hurt. - No.  It doesn't.  It only lengthens your hurt.
  3. They should suffer for what they did to me. - Ummm, I don't know how to tell you this, but... They probably haven't given it another thought.  How much time have you wasted meditating on their crime and your pain?
As we entered the service yesterday each of us was given a rock.  We were to hold that rock throughout the service.  Awkward doesn't begin to describe it.  Hindered, restricted, annoyed also fit the bill.  I had to put it in my pocket and it rubbed my leg as I tried to worship.  I attempted to focus on God, but my mind kept returning to the rock rubbing a raw spot against my leg.  When I sat down I took it out and held it in my hand.  My leg was relieved by now I only had one hand free to follow along in my YouVersion bible app.  I was afraid I would scratch my iPad with the rock.  I couldn't hold my wife's hand, which we sometimes do while sitting together in church.  The rock came between us.

Finally, when I got up to sing the song of response, I let it go, laid the rock down at the alter.  I'd held it long enough that I could describe it in detail.  I could go back later and among all the rocks, I could tell you which one was mine.  The thought came to me after the final song to go back and pick it up.  THAT would have been a mistake.  I would not have wanted to answer the question later.

"What'cha doin' with that rock?"

I would have answered honestly. "It is a reminder to me of the bad things people have done to me.  And how I need to forgiven them."

"Well, if you've forgiven them, then why do you want to be reminded about what they've done?"

...good question

Father, help me to forgive as you did.  The same death you died on the cross for me is given to the ones who have hurt me.  I have no room to stand and judge anyone.  Thank you for forgiving meI celebrate your forgiveness and pass it on to those whom I need to forgive.

Where do you stand on the subject of forgiveness? Have you been restored after a broken relationship?  
Is there anyone from whom you are still withholding forgiveness?  Please leave a comment below.

2 comments:

Krisi Wilhelmi said...

Really good stuff here, thanks for sharing this.

Alden Schoeneberg said...

Thanks for those words Krisi, and for leaving a comment. I'm glad you liked it.