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Words of Jesus – FORGIVE if you want to be FORGIVEN

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT)

http://reflections-of-the-unseen.blogspot.com/2010/09/when-you-feel-you-really-messed-up.html

What a powerful word Jesus spoke here. Did you pick up on the fact that God’s forgiveness is conditional? Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you that forgiveness is unconditional, because it isn’t. If I want to be forgiven, must first forgive those who have hurt me. And get this – Jesus doesn’t say just to forgive those who committed a little sin against you. Oh no – He said that if I refuse to forgive others, my Father won’t forgive my sins… Are you catching this? That means I am required to forgive everyone… even the ones who have damaged me the most by their sins against me.

Do you ever wonder what in the world Jesus could be thinking? This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. How do you forgive the one that you loved and trusted, the one you called “Daddy” for stealing your innocence? How do you forgive the one you loved and trusted to protect you, the one you called “Mommy” for not only failing to protect you, but for turning a blind eye to the abuse and making it clear that she did not want to know about it?

http://jesuschristblog.blog.com/2010/08/08/forgiveness-part-1/

And yet, if I wanted to be forgiven, how could I not forgive? Have any of you ever struggled with forgiveness? Have you ever wondered how a holy and just God, a righteous God could allow you to be hurt, and then expect you to forgive your perpetrator, even though your perpetrator never repents? If so, my beloved, it’s no accident that you are visiting this blog at this time, and reading these words.

My friend, please allow me to share with you, because I know what it’s like to be bound, chained and trapped in unforgiveness. I know how deep the pain of unforgiveness goes, until it takes root in bitterness, and I don’t want you to suffer a minute longer than you already have. In Jesus’ name, I want you to be free of unforgiveness, free from the pain and suffering, free to be forgiven.

Please allow me just a few minutes to talk to you about forgiveness and unforgiveness, so that you can see the advantage of forgiving, and so that you can know how to forgive. First, let’s slay some myths about forgiveness:

  • If I forgive, it’s like saying that what happened to me didn’t matter… This is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Whatever sin and abuse was perpetrated against you did matter. It was wrong because it went against God’s will for both your life and the perpetrator’s life. It was wrong because it damaged you, and God does not want his beloved children damaged or hurt. Beloved, God loves you, and your pain matters to Him. That’s why He has collected every tear you’ve ever cried and kept a record of them.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Do not touch these people I have chosen, and do not hurt My prophets.” (Psalm 105:15 NLT)

  • If I forgive, then that person gets away with what he/she did to me… Again, this is another deception from the enemy, to keep you bound up by your pain and your unforgiveness. Don’t forget that we serve a righteous and holy God. Even if the person never repents and never asks for your forgiveness (like my stepfather), they still have to live with themselves and they still have to face Almighty God, our Father.

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 NLT)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT)

  • If I forgive the person who hurt me, he/she may think that what they did to me was ok… Beloved, he/she may feel justified for what they did to you anyway, if they even bother to think about it. Regardless of whether they feel guilty or ashamed of what they did to you, your unforgiveness is hurting you much more than it is hurting them. You see, as long as you refuse to forgive the person for hurting you, it’s as though you are handcuffing yourself to him/her, and you can’t get away from him/her, can’t stop thinking about him/her and can’t stop thinking about what they did to you. So, in reality, my beloved friend, you are the only one suffering for the crime committed against you. Don’t you want to be free?

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NASB)

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. (Psalm 119:45 NLT)

  • If I forgive this person for what he/she did to me, it will be like I’m saying it never happened… Oh beloved, that is not true at all. When I forgave my stepfather, I told him what he had done to me, and how it had affected the rest of my life, and as I forgave him, I told him what I was forgiving him for… Both he, my mother, my husband and my sister were present as I listed each thing that I forgave him for. There was no denying what he had done to me, and the same was true for my mother. I told her what I was forgiving her for, and how it had hurt me and impacted my life. Don’t you see? The Lord knows the truth, and the people involved may try to deny what happened (my stepfather tried to blame me for his sin), but I refused to accept his blame. Just because someone tries to give you a gift (in my case it was the gift of blame and shame), doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. The Lord knows what happened, and He wants to restore you to wholeness.

Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy. (Isaiah 61:7 NLT)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NKJV)

Beloved, this word that Jesus delivers about forgiveness is not so much for your perpetrator’s benefit as it is for yours. You see, He wants you to be free, whole and healthy. He wants you to abound in joy, but it’s impossible to do that as long as your wounds keep getting ripped open by bitter memories and  unforgiveness.

The Lord is saying to you, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!” (Isaiah 52:2 NKJV) Beloved, as you read this scripture aloud, put your name in the place of Jerusalem… (i.e. – I would say, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Cheryl! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!”) Memorize these scriptures, because there is healing in them.

Forgive, my beloved, so that you can be free. Forgive, so that you can be forgiven. Forgiving doesn’t come natural to us. It is normal for our flesh to want revenge, but don’t allow yourself to go there, because the only one who will end up being destroyed is you.

Ask the Lord to  help you forgive. He said if you ask anything according to His will (and forgiveness is certainly His will for us) that He will give it to you. Beloved, I’m praying for everyone who reads this post, that the Lord will help each one to forgive, so that you too may be forgiven. And now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. 🙂

© 2012 
Cheryl A. Showers

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Words of Jesus – You Are the Salt of the Earth

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless” (Matthew 5:13 NLT).

http://dl.creationswap.com/15139.jpg
http://dl.creationswap.com/15139.jpg

I don’t know about you, but I love salt! Oh, I know, most doctors say that it’s not good for you, but did you know that there’s really no evidence to support this? Even though the CDC and the FDA purport that too much salt intake shortens your life, there is evidence to suggest that we have been deceived about this for the last 40 years. (Check this recent NY Times article out: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/opinion/sunday/we-only-think-we-know-the-truth-about-salt.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0As a matter of fact, according to this article, there is even evidence that suggests a low-salt intake can actually lead to premature death!

When I read this, it made me think of how the enemy of our souls deceives people by leading them to think that what is bad is good and what is good is bad. Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (Isaiah 5:20 NLT). We’re living in evil times, and it is extremely important that the people of God rise up and share the truth with this darkened world.

Jesus told us, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless” (Matthew 5:13 NLT). It’s no coincidence that He said this right after He talked about persecution. It’s a sad fact that people don’t want to hear what is right. They don’t want to hear what is true.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASB). And sadly, people who call themselves men and women of God are afraid of being publicly ridiculed or persecuted, and some are afraid that donations to their ministries will end, so they sell out and preach a watered down version of the truth.

Texas Monthly Joel Olsteen
Texas Monthly Joel Olsteen (Photo credit: Houstonian)

Doesn’t this speak of the world today?This may offend some of you, but I have to address this. Let’s look at the mega churches and some of today’s church leaders… Joel Osteen seems like a very nice person, but a man of God is called to be so much more than that. He preaches nice inspirational messages, but when given the opportunity to share the gospel to the masses on national broadcasts, he waffles and he won’t come out and say that JESUS is the only way to come to the Father. It seems that he’s more interested in selling books and making people feel good about themselves.

http://www.eurweb.com/2012/06/bishop-t-d-jakes-and-deepak-chopra-on-own-sunday/
http://www.eurweb.com/2012/06/bishop-t-d-jakes-and-deepak-chopra-on-own-sunday/

And let’s look at Bishop T.D. Jakes. His words are often very motivational, and he talks about changing our lives and our minds, but as inspiring as he is, he doesn’t preach the unadulterated truth of the gospel. He even shared the stage in July with Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra, not to proclaim the gospel of Christ, but to share “Living From the Core,” a program designed to help you reach your greatest potential. How do combined messages from new age speakers Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey promote the gospel of Christ? And Bishop Jakes’ message about self-realization does nothing to draw the lost to Jesus. Again, as nice as Bishop Jakes seems to be, when given the opportunity to preach Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, he seems much more interested in promoting self-awareness, himself and his many books.

The same can be said of so many of today’s church leaders. Oh, many of them are very charismatic and inspiring, but they’ve lost their saltiness. They’ve lost their flavor. Too many of today’s church leaders are afraid of offending people, so they don’t cry out against sin, because people might get angry and quit giving to their ministry. Look at Paula White, and Juanita Bynum! There’s so much more fame, fortune and recognition if we just continue to tickle people’s ears and motivate them to give more money to our ministry. And dare I say it? Look at the Rev. Billy Graham, who is revered by so many!

English: Billy Graham Crusade in Cleveland Ohi...
English: Billy Graham Crusade in Cleveland Ohio, in June 1994. (PHOTO/PAUL M. WALSH) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look at this statement he released in a full-page ad that ran last week in the USA Today, after a meeting with Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney“I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.” On the surface that sounds really nice, and Graham claims he’s not endorsing Romney or anyone else. However, what is really interesting is that after his meeting with Mitt Romney, Graham’s organization removed a page from their website that referred to Mormonism as a cult. Really? Does the Mormon religion practice and advocate biblical principles?

Deuteronomy instructs us, “Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you from the LORD your God. Just obey them” (Deuteronomy 4:2 NLT). The Mormons believe that the Holy Bible is not the inspired word of God. They believe that their Book of Mormon is to be obeyed first and foremost.

When I hear of these false prophets and false teachers espousing lies, I am reminded of the word the Lord spoke to the prophet, Jeremiah. Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in My name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. Therefore,” says the LORD, “I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in My name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine!” (Jeremiah 14:14-15 NLT)

Men and women of God, Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the world, and then He tells us what will happen if we lose our flavor… But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” I’ve got to tell you – if I shake some salt onto my potatoes and it’s lost its saltiness, it’s going straight to the trash can! Jesus is telling us the same thing! If we water down the Word of God and preach only the parts that we deem palatable, we become worthless!

You are the salt of the earth...
You are the salt of the earth… (Photo credit: Harshad Sharma)

We must preach the whole TRUTH, not just the bits and pieces we like, taking them out of context, like, “God causes all things to work together for good…”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that – even people of the world like that one, but the truth is, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT). Please note that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. That word isn’t all-inclusive! Do you see what happens? When we preach only part of the gospel or take it out of context, it loses its flavor.

If we don’t share the truth with people, God will hold us accountable for their death. Wake up church and remember the words of Jesus! “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless” (Matthew 5:13 NLT).

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers