We had such an overwhelming response to the message on forgiveness on Sunday, October 31, that I thought I’d do a short series of blogs on the topic. If you missed Sunday, you can view the message at: http://www.gfcfamily.com/unlocked-part7/
One of the things that Jesus makes clear in Mt 18 and other passages is this; if you’re a believer, forgiveness of others is not optional for you if you want the blessing of God in your life!
Forgiveness means I release my desire to get even!
I was a Student Pastor for nearly 15 years and have had students do just about everything in the world to me and my house. Janet and I have been TP’d (rolled) so many times we couldn’t keep track. We’ve been hayed (covered our yard with hay) and have been Christmas Tree’d (a group of students put 125+ Christmas Trees in our front yard). One night when we were living in North Dallas we heard the doorbell ring and went to the door only to find a case of 36 rolls of toilet paper with a sign attached that said “DO IT YOURSELF!” After these type events, I’d always try to put fear into the students with these words: “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord and I’M THE LORD’S WORKMAN!” It didn’t work, but it was a good line!
The truth is vengeance is the Lord’s and He wants us to leave it to Him. The matters I talked about above are simple pranks where there was no great harm, but when someone really does you wrong you’re still to leave the “vengeance” (the getting even) to the Lord. When we’ve been wronged the natural response is to want to get even, but as believers – that’s not the response God wants us to have.
Romans 12:19 states: Never take vengeance into your own hands. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it.
You and I need to leave any vengeance to God. He knows the whole story and what’s needed most in the lives of everyone involved so we need to trust Him to take care of it.
I didn’t say this was easy. It definitely goes against the grain of culture and isn’t natural. However, if you’re a follower of Christ – you need to respond in faith and not naturally.
I’m not suggesting the idea that there should be no consequences for wrongs that are done. If someone commits a crime against you or wrongs you in some way, they should have to pay the consequences for their actions. If someone steals something from you – they should make restitution in one way or another, but you’re not to take matters into your own hands. Tell the truth – let the authorities know – and release the situation to God trusting Him to take care of it.
I’m not suggesting that forgiveness is always this simplistic. Some things that happen to us are very complex and require great wisdom in terms of how we respond and proceed However, the bottom line is that forgiveness takes place when I release my desire to get even, and that’s God’s desire for us.