Forgiveness, what a word. The Bible tells us to forgive 70 x 7 times; in other words, an unlimited number of times. The Bible also tells us that if we don’t forgive others, that we will not be forgiven. We are all told to forgive one another but it is very hard to do. Here is why. There is a thing called the “stress response”. If the stress response is triggered by a meeting of one you said you had forgiven, then you had not fully forgiven.
A lawyer beat me out of a sizable architectural fee 40 years ago. He was an evil person and hurt many others. He also hurt my wife and children. The courts were of no help after years of trying, so one day I decided that I was carrying way too much baggage about this guy, after all I had recovered from the pain he caused. I wrote him and said I forgive you. Of course, I never got a reply; I didn’t expect one. He probably thought I was weak. Soon, I began to consider…what if I run into him on the elevator? How would I feel? Being honest with myself, I decided I would get nervous, flushed with adrenaline, and so thought I had not FULLY forgiven. It took about a year of working on my forgiveness before I decided I would have no reaction and could actually wish the man “a good day”.
Yes, to fully forgive can be difficult but I promise it will be YOU who will be blessed in doing so. Furthermore, each and everyone of us needs forgiveness for something; looking back, I could fill a book; I am so glad that God has forgiven me, now what will be my response be to God’s mercy and grace?
Have you ever wondered if there were some hidden political motives by some group when it appears that all of a sudden there are massive sets of attack articles on a given topic? I mean, we could go years with not a peep, and then day after day, articles on some genned-up topic. Case in point, the current daily stories about the NFL and spouse abuse or child abuse. The fact that the NFL’s rate of these un-excusable practices is much lower than what we see in our culture makes no difference. It is blood in the water attracting the sharks. It seems to me that people simply love to distract from what they are doing in order to go “hang” someone else. The fact that our country seems to find joy in the destruction of someone’s life is absolutely sinful. A whistleblower stating our US State Department has been doing criminal acts and messing around with underage prostitutes gets attacked inspite of 18 congressional acts to protect whistleblowers. Why are these stories being ignored and the NFL is the current target zero? While I don’t condone the things that are being accused of the NFL players, I say, let those who have not ever sinned throw the first stone (John 8:7). Who hasn’t let a word slip like Paula Dean? Martha Stewart is sent to prison for doing what is lawful for Congress to do. I believe in spanking and discipline, but never ever with anything in your hand, and never more than just one light time. I believe a man should never ever hit a woman, no matter what she does; but is that a reason to destroy a man’s life and force the owners of teams to sell their teams because of the actions of others? Our country is sinking fast into the cut-throat abyss…a deep canyon of chaos where there is no escape.
The more people “pile-on”, the heavier the weight will become that will eventually sink us as a compassionate nation, one of only a few left in the world. Can we not deal with bad actions on a local basis and nationally promote the good actions of people? I know, I have heard the lame excuse that good news doesn’t sell, well that just reflects our true materialistic sickness…we might as well continue our awful and easier tendency to throw a bloody lamb to the wolves and watch the fight!
How about the story of the Texas man who paid Chick-Fil-A a $1,000 for 88 customers behind him? How about the NFL’s 5 year veteran, David Nelson assisting Haiti in its recovery from a 2010 earthquake? We don’t hear of Nelson’s tearful reaction to a boy’s request, released from being trapped in some ruins, to simply be held. Or, Nelson and his brother adopting 9 Haitian kids, previously on the verge of death.
Yes, we should hold the bar as high as reasonable to promote goodness and be good examples to others. We must also practice and promote what Colossians 3 tells us to do; from the NIV, http://biblehub.com/niv/colossians/3.htm; and be more forgiving. As we are and have been forgiven, which is an un-measurable amount by the way, so too we should also forgive. Set your minds on heavenly things and strive for goodness and peace.
As I reflect more about our world, our culture, I see a complete breakdown in structure. Our great country was established with 3 equal branches of government; there were checks and balances. We now have a president who openly says he is going to go around congress. He unilaterally changes written law and a blind congress cheers him on! We have half the country wanting government to do everything for them; what will we have in another 5 years? Friends this is an extreme chaotic situation. All structure has become burry and fuzzy! Where is truth anymore in the dark abyss of relativism?
Published today, a great thinker of our day, Thomas Sowell wrote in his last paragraph on “Random Thoughts”:
“Once, when I was teaching at an institution that bent over backward for foreign students, I was asked in class one day: “What is your policy toward foreign students?” My reply was: “To me, all students are the same. I treat them all the same and hold them all to the same standards.” The next semester there was an organized boycott of my classes by foreign students. When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”
With words better than mine, Dr. Sowell has painted a perfect picture of chaos. Everyone wants preferential treatment; how can that possibly have a chance of succeeding? Where is common sense? Where is balance? Where is forgiveness and grace? In a world such as what we are currently building at breakneck speed, we can only end up in destruction. SO…this begs the question…what can we do about it? It is obvious to me; we have to put back what we took out. And, what did we take out? The main structure of the universe, the Creator of you and me, the God who loves you so much He sent His only Son to come, show you how to live, and to give you a new start by taking your sins away. You have been redeemed, but salvation requires your action, you have to turn toward Him, have faith and believe in Jesus. Friends, we must put God back in our lives! Give Jesus Christ the preeminence in your life and you will see the dark chaos removed from your life. It will be such Good News that you will want to tell somebody else, and then somebody else, and then somebody else…and so it goes! It is our only salvation from chaos!