Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
The Double Standard (or "Not my Jonny!!!"). Ever notice how we overlook so much in our kids? And what we can not overlook, we certainly forgive. It never occurs to us not to.
Why? Because everything our kids do is viewed through the lens of unfailing love. Further, we are surprised when other people don't overlook our children's faults or transgressions. Yet, I talk to so many people, male and female, who will not forgive other adults. We talk forgiveness, and even give mental or verbal assent when we see forgiveness in the Bible, but in practice, I hear people say things like: "I'll never forgive him as long as I live". You can go to your core group of friends and lay out a litany of the charges you have against so and so (real or imagined) and you will get responses like -- "String em up. Tip their outhouse. Let all the air out of their tires". These are all Worldly Counsel, and seem normal in our world. Even the movies we guys like to watch have titles like - "Forced Vengeance" or "Getting Even" or "Payback" or -you get the idea.
But let's turn the Spiritual Switch. How does God tell us to handle these things which are common to every man/woman? Let's face it; we don't always just get our feelings hurt. Sometimes people really do bad things to us. What then? What am I supposed to do? First, let's remember the "in as much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me" principal.
I can brag about loving my Jesus, but if I can't love my brother, I'm a fraud. The instruction then? "For which things' sake the wrath of God commeth on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth." Colossians 3:6-8. We are commanded to forgive without regard to whether or not the other person apologizes, repents, or even if they never even recognize the wrong they have done you. Forgiveness isn't for their sake, but yours. A bitter spirit always does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored (you) than the object on which it is poured (them). It will make you sick.
Forgiveness is one of the most common themes throughout the Bible, and especially in the New Testament. One of the ones you have prayed or recited hundreds of times = "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us." As = to the same degree. And how did Jesus forgive you? "God commended (displayed) his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" - Romans 5:8. He didn't wait for me to tune up, or get right, or apologize. While I was sinning, He paid the price. That's how I am to love/forgive others.
Remember above we acknowledged that we as parents are amazed that other grownups can't seem to overlook the faults of our children like we can? That's how God is. Everything we do is viewed through a lens of unfailing love. Here's the kicker. That guy/gal you have hated for twenty years? God views them through the same lens. "But preacher, they really did me wrong!". Maybe so, and they will answer for it. God loves us, but there is Always Consequence for Sin.
What you will give an account for is how you handled it. Are you going to Supernaturally handle it God's way -or bow your neck and draw a line in the sand? "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1st Thes. 15 and 18b. Does this seem impossible? It is absent the enabling Grace of the Holy Ghost. People think Christianity is a weakness, and I say Not! Christianity isn't for wimps.
Application: Next time you struggle with forgiveness, picture yourself standing before God and saying: "Lord I want you to know, I really love you, --- but I hate your kids". selah. If you want to know about the enabling grace of God, I would love to share with you how accessible it is. "WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON HIM SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED." - Romans 10:11. God Bless.