Bound by unforgiveness

Published 8:28 am Friday, June 29, 2018

I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer. While I was away on vacation, I asked my younger brother Kagan Young, Pastor of Crab Orchard Free Will Baptist in Plumtree, N.C., to write my column. I knew he would share a wonderful word from the Lord with you all! I know you will enjoy his thoughts as much as I have!
As I look around, it seems that so many people I see are hurting and struggling with different problems in their lives. As a Pastor, I have met numerous people dealing with one struggle that seems to disrupt their entire life. This problem is none other than having an unforgiving heart. It does not take a child a long time to figure out that this world we live in can be cruel. Many people seem to enjoy hurting one another instead of having compassion towards their neighbor and those that do them wrong. Forgiveness seems to be an act that even Christians have a hard time showing and doing. The word “forgive” simply means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt that one owes another. If you will be honest with yourself, we all have fell in the state of wronging someone. Many have chains of unforgiveness on their hearts that destroy their happiness and even their relationships with Jesus. So, does Jesus command us to forgive those that trespass us? Indeed, he does! The word of God is filled with examples and stories of how we are suppose to forgive.
One story that stuck with me since I was a child is about a woman caught in the very act of adultery. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace. Chapter 8 of the book of John tells us after this lady was caught, she was taken right then to Jesus. I can picture this lady standing in front of Jesus in shame of not only of her nakedness but knowing she had been caught committing this act. The crowd began to remind Jesus that Moses wrote in the law anyone caught committing adultery was to be stoned right on the spot. As the Son of God, Jesus, of all standing there that day, had a right to judge her and stone her to death. But, Jesus knelt and wrote in the sand. No one knows what Jesus wrote that day but whatever it was, it was powerful! Jesus looked up at the crowd and says “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” After these words were spoken, one by one, each one that day left because they were convicted of their own conscience. Standing over this lady that committed a sinful act, Jesus said to her “Woman, where are those thine accusers?” That day, the Son of God himself forgave her, and let her go. That same day, Jesus pardoned her and forgave all that she had done. He chose not to judge but gave her forgiveness. I am afraid that most people would have been right in the crowd, yelling that they should stone her.
Jesus is the greatest example on how we are supposed to forgive. The Bible says in Matthew 6:15, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We are not perfect and we all need God’s forgiveness and his grace. But, if we don’t forgive those that do us wrong down here on earth, the Bible says that God will not forgive us. There is nothing beneficial in holding a grudge against someone and having an unforgiving heart. No doubt, you are reading this article today and you might have someone in mind that has hurt you. Your heart may be broken because of things they have done to you or said about you. Living your life with bitterness and unforgiveness against someone is miserable. God did not intend for his people to live this way! As followers of Christ, we should always remember how that even when we were just as guilty as the woman caught in her sin, Christ forgave us. Remember, forgiving someone is not benefiting them; it is benefiting you! Forgiving those that hurt you sets you free from the chains that take hold of your life.
So, can we have a forgiving heart like Jesus? We can! Even as Jesus hung on the cross, hearing the crowd blaspheme his name, he said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” After our Lord and Savior was beaten, mocked, and spat upon, he chose to forgive. If you have a grudge or bitterness against someone who has “done you wrong,” I pray today you forgive them. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
(The Solution Column is provided weekly by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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