A Nugget from New Life Network
Scripture for the Day (October 11, 2017)
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Hebrews 12:14-15)
We just finished our second meeting at our church on race relations. Our church is about 60-70% black and our Pastor is white. This is very unique for South Georgia but we have a great Pastor who has led this church for 28 years and we are so happy to be in a multi-cultural church that loves Jesus and is free in the Holy Ghost.
Some of the stories shared at these two meetings have been heart breaking but it has been good to have a safe place for people to air their feelings and stories. One of the things often asked is how do we get over the pain and hurt? As a white man, there is no way I can feel the same way a black man feels. However, after 35 years in the ministry, we have had hundreds of opportunities to be offended and I know how that feels and I know how to get free of that.
The fight that we have (whether we are black or white) is not against flesh and blood. It’s against spiritual wickedness. It’s against principalities and powers. It’s against Satan and his demonic forces. Jesus said offenses would come to all of us. We just have to decide how we are going to respond to those attacks. We can respond with anger, hate, bitterness, and unforgiveness, or we can respond the way Jesus taught us to respond.
We have learned that bitterness is a poison and it can defile many. It is infectious. So, the best way to deal with it is to “consider Him”. Now, what do I mean by that? Our carnal (selfish) nature will always want to justify our right to be bitter with statements like, “You just don’t understand what that person did to me!” We always want to “consider us”. No, I don’t understand how someone else feels but Jesus does because He has been through a lot worse things than we have and He told us to forgive those people anyway. It really boils down to taking authority over our flesh. Listen, your flesh will never commit suicide, you have to kill it!
The best scripture that I have found to help accomplish killing the flesh in these situations is the following:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
Regardless of what you and I have gone through, or will ever go through, it will never compare to what Jesus went through on the Cross. If anybody ever had a justifiable reason to be bitter and not forgive people it was Jesus. But, He said forgive them Father for they know not what they do. There is just no way out for us when it comes to forgiveness. There are no exceptions or levels of offense that exempt forgiving. We have to do it! We have to obey if we want to be free. It’s as simple as that.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:30-32)