Welcome to day two of our 40-day countdown to Easter 2019. The hard side of forgiveness. Lies. Betrayal. Mocked. Beaten. Crucified. Then he says, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) Could you do that?
There was a King whose subjects did him wrong. They stole from him, they lied on him, they fought him and became rebels who caused a civil war. Betrayed and feeling dejected, the King told his army that all of these rebels must die. But when they began to lose the battle, the rebels remembered the goodness of the King. So they surrendered and asked for forgiveness. The King was so moved by their sincere repentant hearts, that he pardoned all of them of their wrong doing. Then one of the King's soldiers asked, "Sir, didn't you say that all of the rebels must die?" The King said, "Yes, but I see no rebels here."
This story illustrates the hard side of forgiveness. Too often forgiveness is misunderstood. As we fast and pray during this count down to Easter, here are three things to remember about forgiveness:
Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense committed against you. Understand this - the more serious the offense, the more intense the emotional baggage and that's unhealthy for you.
Forgiveness is not instant reconciliation or trust. It is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. But if you are paying attention, that is a process that takes time. That's why true forgiveness is given to those who receive him as Savior and Lord. When you have experienced forgiveness, it helps you understand how to forgive others.
Forgiveness is not resuming a relationship without changes. Jesus is our healer. He is also known as the Great Physician. Healing requires change and if anyone knows the importance of change, it's Jesus Christ. That's why relationship with Jesus requires repentance or a turning away from our sins. And don't forget that sometimes, change is needed on both sides before a relationship can be healed.
The Good News
Here's the good news! Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin." In other words, Jesus understands how hard it can be to forgive. And still, He encourages us to cross that bridge because dumping the weight of emotional baggage is part of your healing.
Cross that Bridge
The beauty of crossing the bridge of forgiveness is that the bridge enables you to cross over the hard side and connects you to freedom in Christ Jesus.
You cross over the obstacles of emotional baggage until you don't see no rebels.
When you cross the bridge of forgiveness, you cross over the obstacles of keeping a memory stick of who did you wrong. You don't see no rebels.
When you cross that bridge of forgiveness, you no longer focus on whether or not others change. You are now changed. And, when you are changed, you don't see no rebels.
Sometimes the obstacles in your life are too much for you to fix. They are too much for you to handle. The fixer is on the other side of the bridge. God created the bridge to serve as a connector to bridge you over your obstacles. The cross carried by Jesus Christ bridges you over your obstacles. He has already taken the bruises, pain, hurt, and disappointments for you. Jesus has laid down his life, like a cross, so that you can be free.
Cross that Bridge.
SAY THIS PRAYER LIKE YOU MEAN IT
Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask you to help me forgive like the King, until I don't see no rebels. Holy Spirit, help me, embrace me, hold me and comfort me as I cross the bridge of forgiveness. I release emotional baggage that weighs me down and blocks the abundant life You have planned for me. Thank you for understanding my situation. Thank you for giving me the example of Your son Jesus and making Him my path to salvation. I declare Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior. I let Him take control of my life. I receive the power of the Holy Spirit to cross the obstacles of heaviness and hurtful memories. I am a forgiver. I forgive and release those who have sinned against me. I am free in Christ Jesus.
In Jesus' name, Amen!
Inspiring Hope and Seasoning Faith, Pastor Sean & Dr. Regina Daigre