• Rev. Joseph A. Bias

The Necessity Of Forgiveness – It’s not an option.

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven…” Luke 6:37

Ok. Things are not great in the social and political condition of our country, but it’s been a lot worse. In the past there have been times like these but with the added occasions of riots in the streets, cities burning, civil unrest, angry confrontations with police and other legal authorities, a general condition of social and political unrest and violence from coast to coast.

So, Let’s just stop for a moment. Take a deep breath and consider from a bit of distance what’s reallyhappening in our country and in many parts of the world.

Through the 24-7 “news” media cycle it would appear, yes, I say appear,that previously, God-fearing people, who commonly held a set of fundamental values of respect and gratitude for God and country in times past, have lost all constraint and propriety. The truth is, most Americans have not lost their minds nor are they concerning themselves with the kinds of insanity being reported day after day and night after night to fill the insatiable appetites of the average “news” junkie.

The regular folks are not heard from that often, but they are here. They still attend church, they still pray, they still raise their families in the nurture and admonition of God, they go to work daily being about the business of maintaining the social order for the good of everyone. Factory workers, utility and garment works, medical doctors, nurses, soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, all our military men and women, research scientists, lawyers, teachers, clerks, secretaries, managers, salespersons, engineers, garbage collectors, seaman, pilots, conductors, electrical workers, fisherman, lawn mowers, truck drives, musicians, singers, preachers and mailmen and women, whatever the daily jobs maybe that keep our nation strong and our economy striving, these are going on day to day, despite the noise and repetitive, endless reporting of violence, destruction, death, threats and acts of anarchy by the very small segment of our society.

The majority of those who claim Christ as Savior still believe in Jesus and they still live in peace with their neighbors.

Nevertheless, the news media focuses much of its time on the vocally loud and ever dwindling minority of irrational extremist now boldly swearing and cursing in the coarsest most hyperbolic language they can think of to impugn, in the vilest terms, the character and heart of those with whom they disagree politically or socially, accounting them worthy of torture, death and hell, likening them to the worst perpetrators of evil in our time, and doing so over little more than trivial or even non-existent verbal insults, or perceived or invented offenses.

Never before in our nation’s history have there been so many with such delicate sensibilities that they are so easily offended and cut to the heart over the slightest word of no real consequence to them, while at the same time they offend and threaten others without any restraint or civility and think nothing of it.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” Isaiah 5:20

This passage of Scripture describes the state of the nation of Israel (Jerusalem and Judah) during the time of the prophet Isaiah. This was a very serious indictment against them for their abandonment of the principles of the Law and their open rebellion against the sovereignty of God. They had turned away from Him to worship idols and engage in all kinds of abominations before Him with haughtiness and wanton disregard for His Holiness.

This passage also accurately describes the state of the secularists in our nation today. They do not know God and do not wish to know Him or consider Him in their conversation. They have accounted His people irrelevant and an offense to the “perfect world” they perceive without God and particularly without Christians.

The volatile nature of the rhetoric being spewed from the mouths of so many against the very foundational truths on which this nation was founded speaks to the depth of depravity to which many of them have descended. Sadly, far too many of those most caught up in this destructive movement are the woefully ill-informed young who have been desensitized or brain washed over years of teaching and indoctrination by those who hate God and His Word, because it calls them to accountability for their sins.

And that is the touch point of division among those who honor God as the Supreme ruler of the nation and those who hold up themselves to be above the Law of God.

Tragically, however, there are many who don’t know, and far too many who refuse to acknowledge, that there is only one true answer to the current state of division, anger, hatred and violent rhetoric rising in our nation like a gathering storm. Many fear If it is not checked and resolved soon, it will certainly lead to chaos, anarchy and total annihilation of the society, because of the sinful nature of men without God.

What then is the answer?

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

First, we who know the Lord, who trust in the name of Jesus Christ for life, we who have been made alive in Christ must pray and keep on praying for God’s Word to be declared unhindered and heard and believed unto salvation in the hearts of those who oppose themselves. Then, we must never cease praying nor let our guard down, nor allow ourselves to give into the subtle seductions of the devil, the thief, who comes only to steal to kill and to destroy.

We must pray for God to fill us with His love and forgiveness, that we can and will overflow with His gifts to touch those around us; not joining the noise of attack and counterattack, but of sober, non striving, patience, gentleness and readiness to teach those who oppose themselves and to do so in an attitude of meekness, so that God will in due time give them repentance to acknowledge the truth.

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26

What we are witnessing is the parade of death in a myriad of forms around us, in public and in private education, in the college and the University, in the halls of our national, state and local governments. We are witnessing the deliberate attack against the truth and the exaltation of the lie. But those espousing these ideas are ignorant to the spirit that is controlling and manipulating them because they have become blinded to the truth.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Rom. 1:22-23

Israel abandoned God for the idols they made with their hands. And they bowed down and worshiped them. Today’s Idols are also made with the hands of men, but they are subtle and dynamic in nature, yet worshipped faithfully nonetheless. Among them are idols of entertainment, idols of technology, idols of sports and pleasures of various kinds, idols of pride and self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement, idols of judgmentalism and false witness, lying and unashamed, deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. Those who worship these have had their hearts seared over with darkness and the evil way. They need the Lord. Jesus died for them also. We have the message that will save them, and we can, and will declare it, by faith in Jesus’ name.

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26

At the heart of that message is forgiveness. Their offenses against God through faith in Jesus Christ are forgiven. They don’t have to accept the lies of the devil against them and they don’t have to give in to his lies and temptations. They can be delivered and find their true life, their true value, purpose, peace, joy and fulfillment through faith in Jesus Christ.

For those who have been abused and offended, broken and suffered violence at the hands of men and those who should have protected and defended them, but rather sold them into slavery and bondage, they too can be set free and be free indeed. They can be empowered to forgive and ultimately to love their enemies. Was this not the example of Jesus to everyone? Whose offense was greater than ours against Him?

Mark the true believer and the one who is possessed of the Holy Spirit. That one will be at peace in good times and in bad, in want and in plenty, in sickness and in health. Their heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord.

“A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; He will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies. He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor.” Psalm 112:5-9

Now the auto default thought about this passage, “His heart is established; He will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies” might be summed up like this, “He will not be satisfied until his enemies get what they deserve.” Or, “The evil will suffer their just desserts and the righteous will get to cheer from the stands when they see them go down.”

That may be what will happen but is that the intent of this passage in the larger sense of Jesus as The Righteous One whose righteousness we now arein Him?

Jesus’ desire for His enemies is for them to repent and to be saved. God does not want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be saved. Likewise, the righteous in Christ live to forgive, to stop the pattern of passing the offenses and transgressions of their fathers to the next generation.

The righteous speaks this way. “Unforgiveness and the desire for revenge stops with me.” “Because I have been forgiven I can forgive.” “The past is forgiven and cast away as far as the east is from the west.” “I choose to live in peace with all men as far as it is in my power to do so.”

The offenses of the past are not worthy to be resuscitated generation after generation in the face of the mercy and grace of God through the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, especially not by those who claim Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As a Christian I have no right to hold the great, great, great, great, grandsons of slave owners responsible for the cruelty of their ancestral fathers against mine. By the same measure those whose great, great, great, great grand fathers held slaves are not responsible to me to make amends for their great, great…grand father’s transgressions. Jesus died for all our sins.

Our righteousness compels us to be loving, forgiving and gracious to all as unto Jesus. If we all had to pay for our sins, we would all perish. But Christ forgave us. Now, we must forgive one another. Jesus declared it and gave His life for this too, that we would know this truth, without forgiveness we all die.

#Forgiveness #Grace #Love #Obedienec #Faith

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