Sunday, October 14, 2012

Forgiven, Forgotten, Gone…

I think if you're walking around judging and not forgiving people, you're deluding yourself if you expect to hear 'well done, My good and faithful servant'. It doesn't matter if you've led a thousand souls into Heaven, if you don't forgive, it profits you nothing. – Joshua JJ Anderson

Let's be blind and deaf today. Blind to people's shortcomings. Deaf to criticism and accusations. Put on love today and see only the opportunities to be a blessing to people who cross your path. – Lize van Wyck

Those two statements come from friends on Facebook and both are in my church.  They highlight today’s thoughts.  I was originally going to start with something from Phil McGraw, known on TV as Dr. Phil.  Dr. Phil isn’t what I consider the last word on mental and spiritual healing, simply because he doesn’t deal with the spiritual component of issues.  Which gives only a partial solution to many things.  But he made a statement on a recent show that highlights a real problem.  He told a young lady that, by not forgiving someone, she was putting herself in the same emotional jail cell.  That’s almost right.  Take a look at what I mean:

When we don’t forgive, we create a space for pain in our being.  The problem that Dr. Phil misses is that the unforgiveness stays long after the other person has forgotten about the incident.  Or the other party may not even realize there’s something to be forgiven.  Either way, what eventually happens is the unforgiveness really puts us in solitary confinement, the other party no longer hurting from the incident, our only real company being the pain itself.

And what happens if the person I’m not forgiving is me?  I end up jailing myself with only the pain and my negative thoughts as my cell mates.  In any of these scenarios, I do one more thing.  I place myself in total disagreement with the mind of God.

The title of this post is part of a song title written by the founding pastor of our ministry.  The song is “Forgiven, Forgotten, and Gone Forever”, written by Carl Stevens.  The song refers to our sins.  Those are the things that happen to what we do wrong, thanks to Christ going to the Cross.  Remember that a sin is “missing the mark”.  It's not just some huge act of disobedience.  It can be simply not behaving in line with God’s heartbeat.  Here’s what happens:
  1. Our missteps are covered by the blood of Jesus on the Cross. (1Peter 4:8 )
  2. He didn’t make any exceptions. (John 3:16)
  3. God forgets those sins (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17)
  4. They’re forgotten because they’re cast into the deepest sea. (Micah 7:19)
God moves on.  We need to, also.  Jesus says in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  And He tells us, in Luke 6:37-38, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”.  I don’t think that could be any clearer.  Whether we're nonjudgemental and forgiving or unforgiving and judgemental, the amount of each comes back on us.

Think about what happens to us when we forgive.
  1. We eject any spiritual and emotional baggage attached to our unforgiveness.
  2. We eliminate the need to think about what we don’t forgive.  And get to move on to much nicer things
  3. That thinking disappears into the depths.  So, we don’t have to share an emotional and spiritual jail cell with pain, with negative memories, with our own unGodly thinking.

We need to forgive, forget, and toss those unforgiving thoughts away.  Then we can “smell the roses”.  Or, if you’re like me, it’s the aroma of coffee.  But we can bask in the wonderful thoughts and blessings God has for us, instead of shutting ourselves into a dark dank mindset, created by our self imposed misery.   What would you do to gain the joy of thinking with God?

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