Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Gift.

There is much to be said for giving. The bible says God loves a joyful giver. And don't let the left hand know what the right one is doing while giving. Give those things which are God's to God, and those things which are Caesar's unto Caesar.
Then there are the many giving terms in the secular world: Give the gift of life. Give blood. Give till it hurts. Give to the poor. Give peace a chance. Give me shelter. Give it a go. Give me one more chance. But both sides agree: "IT IS BETTER TO GIVE, THAN TO RECEIVE."
So. What is the greatest gift you can give? World peace? It's not yours to give. A new car? A diamond ring? Gold? Frankincense? Myrrh? How about love? The apostle Paul says that without love all other gifts are worthless. But only God's love is pure, perfect and eternal. Your love, no matter how intense, is over at the grave. You can't give love once you're gone. There is a gift you can give that will last after you have gone to your reward. Unfortunately, it is the hardest gift you can give. Mostly because it requires you to give up so much to pass it on to someone else. It is so precious, some people make their purpose in life to not give it. They thrive on it. They revel in it . And they make sure everyone knows they won't give it. They protest it's too hard. No one should be expected to give that gift.
The gift I refer to is FORGIVENESS. It is the one gift you can give someone that will out last your life. It is also the one gift that you can give that is truly godly. One of Christ's last words were "Forgive them." in reference to the people who had just betrayed, accused, judged, flogged and hanged him on a cross.
What is it that you can't or won't forgive? The tailgater, who damaged your new wheels? That jerk who cut you off in traffic? The boss who passed you over for promotion? Your co-worker who talks about you behind your back? A cheating spouse? An unfaithful friend? An abusive parent? A drug addicted child? The thief who stole your car? A neighbor, whose tree sheds leaves into your swimming pool? The murderer who killed your loved one? That biker who just flipped you off?
All of these are egregious. And all of them have the potential to be life changing events. Your anger would be understandable, and justified. It is impossible to not be angered by one these episodes. And God recognizes this fact. Ephesians 4:26 says; "Be angry, yet do not sin." Anger in and of itself is not a sin. It is what you do with your anger that can result in sin. Revenge and hatred are the direction we are warned not to take. Revenge is treading on God's dominion. And hatred leads to unforgiveness. How can you forgive someone who does something so terrible as murder, or marital infidelity? Or the friend who talks behind your back? Remember three things.
One; Your forgiveness does not absolve them from punishment, either in heaven or in the courtroom.
Two; Your unforgiving heart only hurts you. There isnot enough hate in the world to make the other guy feel what you feel. And eventually, your emotions will kill you. Slowly. But, surely. Ulcers, depression, stroke, heart palpitations have all been traced to the emotions of the person suffering from these diseases.
Three; There is already somone in this world who you are willing to forgive. Regardless of the number or severity of indiscretion, you will always forgive yourself. That doesn't mean you have no conscience. It means you either drop it completely, or you give it to God, so He can take care of it for you.
How many times should you forgive someone? Jesus told peter 70 times 7. That equals 490 if you multiply. How many times have you forgiven yourself? I can't keep count of mine. But I probably go through 490 in the morning before lunch. So the math in the bible should read more like 70 times 7 as an exponent. Or 7^70. Punch that into your scientific calculator, and now you're talking about the kind of numbers God understands. 1.5 with 91 zeros.
Is this something that will affect your salvation? Certainly not. Your salvation is a matter of God's grace. If salvation could be earned, there would have been no need of Christ's sacrifice. Since I am unsure of my audience, I will not continue discussing the complexities of salvation. But forgiveness is essential. You need it, God requires it, and it's good for your health. It's a gift. Give it.


Edie said...

"That biker who just flipped you off?" You mean they do that kinda stuff? ;) (just kidding)

Great post on forgiveness. That bitterness of soul is no good but forgiveness is probably the most difficult thing we learn to do. It takes Jesus to really be able to forgive some things.


Kelly Combs said...

You give good gifts! Forgiveness is indeed a gift, and unforgiveness usually hurts you more than the other person, as the offender often doesn't care that they've hurt you.

Great words today, Kurt. :-)

Becki Jacket said...

GREAT post. Really made me think, thank you. The whole time I was reading it i thought to myself, "Who do I need to forgive?" Because I'm a very forgiving person. It's in my nature. Then I realized that I don't hardly ever stop and forgive myself. So I think it's time I worked on that instead of carrying around this dumb weight on my shoulders.

Blasé said...

the bible says a lot of things. anyway, good post, bro!

Technonana said...

Oh PREACH ON my brother!!! Forgiveness is one of those things that may be hard to do depending on the offense, but it is soooo freeing!! Sometimes it takes us awhile to get there... but when we do it's a beautiful thing!!
and as Beth Moore says... we must Grace as we have been Graced!!

Blasé said...

..who is "Beth Moore"??