“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-15, NASU)
Have you ever noticed the “tools of the trade” that fishermen, who want to catch the bottom-feeding fish, use? One of them that I am aware of is the sinker, the little lead ball-shaped object. Once tightly fastened to the fishing line, not too far from the hook and bait, its purpose is to take the fishing bait to the bottom of the pond or lake. That is where the bottom-feeders are sucking up what garbage and other less-nutrient food particles end up once they have fallen to the bottom. Down to where it is dark and murky.
The enemy of our soul likes to hang around bottom-feeders. These are the ones who have been hurt, wounded and continue to walk around in bitterness. They too would rather live where it is dark and murky; where leaden lines bring down more bait to subsist on. Rather than forgive and forget, as we are commanded to do, they choose to hang onto the hardness of heart which has resulted, and stay as they are. Living in darkness, in the basement, means you don’t have to face the light. “No more chance to get hurt again by others” is your mindset.
But in fact, it is the light which will save you from the darkness. It is getting the infection out, the scab removed, the hurt and wounds healed that will give you the life you were meant to be free to participate in. The cross of Jesus sets us free from all this.
I have seen many people wounded in their walk with Christian brethren, both from leadership and other members of the church congregation. Rather than walk in forgiveness and forgetting what lies behind, they instead make the choice to not let go of the hurt and carry their wounds. What once was great fellowship and sharing a common bond in the Lord’s grace and mercy, it has instead become an infected sore, which never seems to go away. Another church, another day, another attempt at hiding it away doesn’t make it go away.
“Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13, Complete Jewish Bible)
The ones who resist the command to forgive will continue to grow in the hardness of heart, the darkness, that robs all of the freedom to walk in love. By not letting go, through the act of forgiveness, will keep you from the trust and forbearance we need in walking with one another. The new relationships you will endeavor to make will have the shadow of the previous ones preventing you from true fellowship.
We must learn to forgive each other continually, forgetting the past, and move on to fulfill the call and purpose we each have in the Body of Messiah. There are too many dying people out there whom we are sent to help, but will not be able to if we insist on protecting our space and not letting these things go.
“Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly; and let the shalom which comes from the Messiah be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.
And be thankful – let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts. That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:14-17, Complete Jewish Bible)
We don’t have the “luxury” of being bottom-feeders. We can’t continue to let offenses, being offended, and petty arguments keep us from walking in the light.
We must bring everything to the His light, to forgive those who hurt us, and get on with the work we instead must be doing. There are bigger issues to deal with, so walking in forgiveness daily is a necessity.
I have been hurt. You have been hurt. Insisting on living in unforgiveness will only deepen the infection that Jesus Christ died for, to save you from.
We must repent from our sin of allowing unforgiveness to rule in our hearts. There must not be any place for it in your life, nor mine.
I am still learning how to live in forgiving others. Some days are better than others, but I have no choice but choose forgiveness, if I am to do that which He has saved me to do, and requiring of me to walk out.
I hope you are too.
Shalom and ahava (peace and love in Hebrew).
Now think on this,
Steve Martin – Founder/President, Love For His People, Inc.
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Now Think On This – in the Year of our Lord 08.23.17 – #309 – “Forgive, Forget, Move On” – Sunday, 5:55 pm