Friday, April 25, 2008

A Kingdom Response to Disappointments and Hurts

You can choose to be 'Nursing and Rehearsing the things of the Past or Walking in the Wonder of New Life in God Right Now?' Bitterness is 'A Choice You Don't Have to Make.'

When we nurse and rehearse the disappointments and hurts of our past we miss what God has for us today. If we, like the man in the Gospels who had been forgiven much by the king are unwilling to forgive those who have hurt or disappointed us and who owe us comparatively little compared to what God forgave us, we are in
danger of losing the very freedom Christ died for.

Matt 18: 21-35 The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, _Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?_22 Jesus answered, _I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 _Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 _The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 _But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me_' he demanded. 29 _His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'30 _But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 _Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 _This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart._NIV

All of us experience hurt, disappointment and pain at the hands or because of the mouths of people who are acting out of what they believe to be the best intentions. These people may be passionately serving God and due to their own character weakness or lack of wisdom and understanding disappoint or hurt us. Sometimes the more passionate ones are the most harmful because they act with great force to do what is right. Although we do not want to stifle passion we do want to temper it with wisdom and Godly compassion.

I Corinthians 13 4:-7 states that love keeps no record of wrongs. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. NIV

The next time you get to talk to someone or a group of people ask them if they enjoy being around people who are angry, complaining and bitter all of the time. Most people will say NO.

Psalm 1:1-2 tells us about the person who sat in the seat of the scornful,
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners,Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,And in His law he meditates day and night. NKJV

This was a person who sat at the gate of the city and rehearsed to everyone who would come by his plight(circumstances or situation). They would nurse their wound by telling everyone how they were wronged and by doing this to gain favor so that their cause would be supported and they would be judged innocent and the one with whom they had complaint would have to act to make things right.

When we were transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of the son of God's love (Col 1:13-14) we had the penalty and the shame of sin removed from us.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.NIV

When we refuse to forgive others we sit in the seat of the scornful and bring our lives back into darkness because we shut ourselves off from God's life giving Spirit when we cling to the filthy rags of someone's sin against us. We cannot cling to death and darkness and walk in the light and life that God wants for us to have each day.

Today God has given you a wonderful opportunity to live for Him in freedom and experiencing the fullness of His love for you. I am not saying this is easy or that it might not take time and hard work, but we have a choice to make. Are you ready to become what God desires, to forgive, let go and move onto the life that God desires for you or are you going to rehearse your story and nurse your wounds for all to see that you are unwilling to move on to the new things God has waiting? Rejecting God's love for us and through us to others will not resolve our issues.

He is waiting for us to forgive others or ourselves as we have been forgiven by Him!
Artwork, 'Loaves and Fishes' by Graham Braddock