Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Funeral

Has there been a day when God is just like slapping you in the face with His Word?  Moments when you don’t have to guess what He’s trying to tell you, it’s so obvious that you would be an idiot not to figure it out.

Today’s been one of those days for me.  I was cleaning up my kitchen and became overwhelmed and sorrowful just out of the blue.  Not long after that the song “Forgiven” by Sanctus Real came on the radio.  It’s one of my favorite songs but I haven’t heard it in a long time.  The words of the song spoke straight into my heart, so much so that I immediately searched the song on YouTube to listen again and posted it to my Facebook page.  I determined in my heart, as the song says, that “when I don’t measure up to much in this life, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ.  I don’t have to carry the weight of where I’ve been, I’m forgiven.”  I thought alot about people who are hurting.  People who have a lot more baggage to carry around than I, and about someone in particular, wondering what kind of pain they have.  After a few tears of thankfulness these feelings disappeared, as quickly as they had come.

Just as I finished washing the dishes, I realized I was still thinking about this person but mostly about how much this person has hurt me.  It struck me that I should be concentrating less on what this person has done and praying for them instead.  By now it was soon time for my favorite radio program, Walk in the Word, to come on which I hadn’t listened to since last week.  The name of the message James MacDonald preached today is “The Burial - Making Forgiveness Final”, from the series “Have the Funeral:  God’s plan for your past”.  The series is about forgiving others who have hurt us and putting that pain behind us, burying the pain if you will.

Something I have been reciting to myself over the past few years has been “Well, this person hasn’t asked for forgiveness, how can I forgive them?”  James says there is only one passage in Luke that admonishes to forgive those who have repented.  Most of the passages regarding forgiveness make no mention of repentance.  I am not responsible for this person’s repentance or lack thereof, I am simply responsible to forgive.  Of course, simple is an understatement.  James asks the members of his live audience to take a piece of paper and write the person, the pain and state that they are forgiven, and that it will never be read but placed in a container and actually buried - a funeral for the pain.  He argues against personally verbalizing forgiveness to someone who has not asked for it, but to repent of unforgiveness to God alone, state your forgiveness and leave the rest to Him.  “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15).

I think I need to have a funeral.

To listen to today’s message by James MacDonald click here.

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