Sunday, April 15, 2007

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 13, 14, 15

2 Samuel 13:10-14 (NIV)
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here in my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.” 12 “Don’t, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

2 Samuel 14:14 (NIV)
14 Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, He devises a way so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
14 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Good morning!

There are some things in life that truly seem unforgivable to me – I watch the news in horror every evening while listening to stories of murder/suicides, rape, abuse, and torture. Parents are hurting their children. Children are killing their parents in self-defense. Sisters and brothers war against each other, taking things that do not belong to them. Feelings of jealousy, lust and greed explode into evil acts of injustice all around us. The scars of sexual sin mark people for life. We do not have to go far to see the path of destruction sexual sin leaves behind. Look outside your front door this morning. Do you know what might be happening across the street in your neighbor’s home today? Do you know someone who has been raped? Are you friends with a family who lost a child to murder? How does the evil of this world impact your life?

All of us deal with sin and the scars it leaves on our hearts. A hurtful word, and unkind gesture, and an unfair decision can linger in our mind for years. People make choices every day as to how they will choose to live their lives. Selfishness and greed sprout up like the weeds growing in my back yard. Unattended, they spread like wild fire, overtaking healthy soil and infiltrating the good grass.

When I was a young girl growing up in the 1960s, I used to watch the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver with my little sister while playing with our Barbie dolls on the living room floor. We would have liked to have lived the idyllic life next door to the Cleavers. Oh, to have perfect parents – the mother who cooked and cleaned in beautiful dresses, never getting dirty or showing any signs of fatigue. A father who comes home from work each day in a suit and tie, genuinely happy to see his family and who cannot wait to spend quality time with his sons. Parents who administer discipline with love, who do not raise their voices in anger or rage. Yes, it would have been nice to have lived in a home like the Beaver’s. How many homes in your neighborhood do you think were actually like this?

The older I get, the more I realize that finding true peace in the journey has everything to do with the forgiveness we offer to the ones who have hurt us in life. Jesus said that when we choose to forgive, our Heavenly Father will forgive the hurts we have brought upon the people in our path. The pain caused by abuse, rape, and even murder can be forgiven when we take our pain to the foot of the cross. This is why Jesus chose to come and give His life up for all of us. He knew what torture was like, because He experienced it first-hand. He understands how one selfish act can cause such dissention in the home, between siblings and parents and grandparents. He knew how the cycle of sin, brought down to the third and fourth generation, needed to be broken once and for all. He bled and died for people who have suffered wrong acts by the hand of another. He died for the ones who inflicted that pain upon the innocent ones. He died for all of us - offering forgiveness to those who repent. He has the power to release us from every mistake we have ever made.

Do you know how it feels to be truly forgiven? The gift of living a forgiven life comes when we are able to truly forgive those hurts we have harbored in our heart. If you have been hurt by someone you love, and you don’t know how to go on with the pain you feel inside, ask Jesus to help you do what you cannot seem to do on your own steam. It does not matter whether you were the victim or the perpetrator – there is forgiveness for you at the cross of Christ. Ask Jesus to help you forgive the unforgivable in your life. If you trust Him to take your bruised and bleeding soul, HE WILL HEAL YOU. Jesus can set you forever free from your addictions, self-destructive behavior, and from the need to run from the things that are eating you alive. Come to the cross today. Allow the Lord to heal your heart, restore your broken home, and help you make peace with the ones who have hurt you along the way.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: help to forgive the unforgivable. My Jesus is big enough – He is able! He will help you forgive today, if you are willing to give it all up to Him. I’ll see you at church, dear friend.

© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding
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