Sunday, October 30, 2011


Depending on whom you run with, revenge may or may not be a part of your lifestyle.  Movies that have revenge as their plotline are satisfying because it gets at our desire for justice when there is none.  This is revenge, and it feels good.  Stories that end with revenge are satisfying, whereas stories that end with forgiveness seem to leave us unsatisfied.  This is a direct result of the sin nature that continues to reside with us long after conversion (Galatians 5:16-18).
Revenge makes you feel empowered.  That is exactly the point.  YOU are empowered.  You have usurped the direct role of God (Romans 12:19).  When you grant forgiveness that person may never be fully punished for their crime in this lifetime.  This sucks when you think of it this way, but the offense was paid for.  Let’s go to the Cross:
Matthew 27:45-46
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.  About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

At this moment all of the world’s sin; past, present, and future was on Him (1 Peter 2:24).  God the Father, being holy and pure had to turn from Jesus.  This was the only moment in all eternity when the bond between the Father and the Son was broken.  Besides the sheer pain of the cross, Jesus was heartbroken.  I’m crying right now… I’m reminded that He did it for me.  It’s awesome and empowering to feel the power of the cross in your heart.  He also did it for you!  This is the joy and power that allows you to forgive.  Your forgiveness cost a lot.  It was not cheap, so when you forgive that sin will be paid in full.
So when you grant forgiveness be aware that you need to drop it, you don’t get to bring it up over and over to guilt trip someone.  This just doesn’t seem right, but think it through this way; Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (Hebrews 10:14).  Those who put their trust in Him can count on that and never worry.  The price was paid; all sin, past present and future was paid for.  The gift is freely available to anyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Those who reject the free gift of God’s Son by the Father Himself are doomed to pay for their sins in eternity.  Even Christians must account for every wrong doing (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
God doesn’t mess around.  Don’t worry about how it will all work out.  Your role is to forgive, even when you haven’t been asked to forgive.  If you don’t forgive, you will become one of the bitter people, rotten from the inside out.  God has also made it very clear that when we are unforgiving we will not be able to escape the shame of our own sins (Mark 11:25).  Our own relationship with Jesus becomes degraded.  We don’t lose our salvation, but we cease to be a part of what God is doing here on this earth.  We lose our joy which should be our source of strength.  We stop feeling grateful.  When we do not forgive others, you will not be forgiven by God (Matthew 6:14-15).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Ungratefulness and unforgiveness create the soil from which bitterness sprouts.  When somebody does something wrong to us we want revenge. We understand innately that a wrong incurs a debt that must be paid. When we take revenge, we feel better but now the other person wants revenge, what’s to stop this from becoming an endless cycle of retribution. 

When we don’t take revenge, anger can develop into a deep sense of bitterness towards that person specifically and life in general.  We tend to not take revenge because the results are usually disastrous, but I’m obviously not arguing for revenge, so stay with me.  People tend to feel this bitterness at work because people often feel they have no recourse for revenge against a boss who does them wrong.  

 Bitterness is a self-affliction brought about by unforgiveness and it causes many problems if you let it take hold (Hebrews 12:15).  Forgiveness is the antidote to the venom of bitterness.  Forgiveness requires divine power, so you will need to ask God for this power in order to grant forgiveness.  This takes great faith since we are allowing God to deal with that wrong (Romans 12:19-21).   

When we choose to forgive, that offence will be paid for by the person him or herself in hell, or that wrong will be paid for by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  When we choose to forgive we are absolving all ability of direct revenge or harboring bitterness.  Since we tend to not take revenge we do nothing and nurture a grudge.  

 Bitterness (unforgiveness) is critically harmful to our soul and erodes our character.  At the least, unforgiveness says to a person that you are no longer choosing to conduct a relationship with them.  God critically wants you to have healthy relationships as much as it is in your power.  Unforgiveness means the person does not get a second chance with us.  The reason this erodes our character is that unforgiveness is like a toxic substance that corrodes as long as we hold on to it.   

Forgiveness also allows us to release the burden of the pain to God, otherwise we hold on to the pain of the offence and it has to opportunity to hurt us over and over.  Forgiveness of others; therefore, is vital to your soul.  Otherwise you will waste away into one more of those bitter adults.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Accepting our Lot in Life

There is a great children’s book called A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman, and it wonderfully illustrates an essential concept for you.  In this story a young frog named Frankie has the audacious dream to fly like a bird someday.  Determined to see his dream come to fruition, Frankie works tirelessly to “practice” his flying. His parents and friends lovingly try to explain that flying is a bird thing, but he is undeterred.

Finally, the reality and disappointment of the broken dream dawn on Frankie. In that sad moment he witnesses a baby bird falling into the pond.  Knowing that he must act fast, Frankie dives in, saves the baby, and safely delivers it to her mom.  The grateful mom rewards Frankie by taking him for an awe inspiring flight.  Amazed, Frankie’s parents and friends congratulate him on achieving his dream of flying.  Frankie responds that he realizes that he is a frog and understands that he will never fly, but being a good swimmer is a gift to be cherished. 
            If Frankie had sworn off swimming because he couldn’t fly then that baby bird would have died.  There is a delicate balance between going after your goal and understanding your gifts and limitations.  You have been fashioned specifically for a purpose that leads to your maximum happiness (Jeremiah 29:11) (John 10:9-11).

    If you go after something else you may miss out on something better.  This something better is going to take hard work, so don’t wimp out.  Do not let something that is hard, make you feel that it is unattainable; you will have to work hard to accomplish things that matter.   You must listen to the voice of God to point the way, because the way you feel is right may not be what is best for you (Proverbs 14:12).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chasing the Dream Part II

            I developed a passion for sprinting in elementary school that began in second grade when my teacher signed me up to do the 100 yard sprint for the school Olympics.  On the day of the race I was wore brown corduroy pants and Traxx shoes from K-mart.  They lined me up with a bunch of the boys, the gun went off, and I ran for all I was worth.  I won, and a legend was born, at least in my mind.  I honestly believed that I was the fastest kid in school all through elementary school.  My number of wins diminished throughout elementary school, but I still believed in the legend.  My speed, and with it my athletic confidence, left me in junior high school.  I played no sports until my sophomore year of high school when the track coach asked me to come join the team.  At the time I was honored, but as I look back we had a small team and he asked every kid to join.  He put me on hurdles, and I stuck with it because I felt he saw something special in me that would make a good hurdler.  Looking back, I noticed he put everyone who joined on hurdles because he knew if he could train hurdlers and pole-vaulters he could win most of the meets.
            I really worked at it and my technique became almost flawless.  I won a lot of races just because of that.  Over time I got better and by the senior year I just barely missed the school record.  I pictured myself a budding Olympian, but there was this nagging problem, I was not super-fast.  My heart was finally broken at Mount Miguel High School when this kid with awful technique beat me by a good 10 feet.  I was crushed, but in a way I was upset at myself because I knew the truth.  In the back of my mind I knew that I had fair speed but not blazing speed.  This was my broken dream moment. All the signs were there but I just got wrapped up in the fantasy of it all and chose to overlook the obvious.        
It’s not bad to play sports but it is silly to plan to play sports as a profession.  This also goes for professional singers, actors and the like.  These dreams or fantasies are killing us as a society and they create false hopes (Proverbs 12:11).  The odd thing about all this is that often we know it is a false hope, but don’t admit it to ourselves.  It is easy to just look past a glaring truth if you do not want to deal with the realities of that truth (Romans 1:18-20).  Our dreams must line up with something beyond us to truly fulfill us.  If we allow God to shape our dreams, we will be most happy (John 10:10).  Anything else is looking past the glaring truth.