Forgiveness (2)

here are the slides from this morning > Forgiveness 2

Odds are, you have some unforgiveness in your life.  Odds are, someone has hurt you deeply, offended you, abandoned you, humiliated you, abused you, shunned you … and you are still carrying that offense around.  Unforgiveness is like a hot coal.  If you hang onto it, it’ll burn you up.

And you might say, “Not me.  Nope.  I’m not holding onto any unforgiveness” and you can test that by seeing if you have any of these running around inside your heart … I have or want to take revenge on someone.  I am bitter towards someone.  I slander them, gossip about them.  I call them names either out loud or to myself i.e. “jerk”, “idiot”, etc.  I reject that person.  I avoid a person so as to punish them.  I intentionally don’t do something I know they want me to do so I can get even with them.  I’m a bigot.  I judge them or label them based on their race.  I judge her because she is a woman.  Internally, I wish for bad things to happen to them i.e. that “they get what they deserve”.

If you are saying/doing/feeling any of these towards another person, you’ve probably got the disease of unforgiveness in your system and like cancer, it’ll do great damage to you if left untreated.

We talk a lot about wounds and they are real.  Father wounds, mother wounds, brother wounds, spousal wounds, etc.  We don’t seek to minimize the pain you’ve experienced.  It is real, profound and destructive.  Some of you come from abusive homes.  Many of you had fathers who cheated on the family and left home.  Many had fathers or mothers who said you’d never amount to anything or that you were a disappointment to them.  These are real.  But when we take those wounds in and carry them, they can do great harm to us.  “If my Mom told me I was worthless, that must be my diagnosis for life.  It must be true.”  Not so.  It may just be painful words from a deeply troubled woman.  But it is not truth.  You are a child of God, beloved and adored.

The key is what do we do with these wounds?  Carry them?  Believe them?  Allow them to become Goliath’s that can always taunt us and knock us down?  Or, can we release them and take down Goliath by forgiving that person and releasing them.

Forgiving them doesn’t make them right, it just makes you free.

What struck me so profoundly in preparing this session was just how easily I have forgotten what Jesus did for me.  You see, I have become quick to judge.  Quick to determine “he is a jerk” and thereby rationalize why I will have nothing to do with him any longer.  There is a man that I have been crossed up with 3-4 times in completely different circumstances.  We’ve almost come to blows.  It has seemed that he has just been looking for a reason to hate me.  To my knowledge, I’ve never done anything to him but, for whatever reason, he just doesn’t like me.  Through that, I’ve been quick to judge him, label him and even slander him.

As Jimmy Evans says in the video when he relates a similar story in his life, God has convicted me of my judgment of this man.  I don’t know much of his story other than he is a believer (how do two believers allow this to happen?) and that he came from a very tough home and has a somewhat fractured relationship with his father.  God says to me what He said to Jimmy Evans – “You see that man for what he did to you, I (God) see him for what was done wrong to him as a child”.

I have no right to judge him.  He just may not like me.  That’s OK.  But I should not judge him.  The danger in all this is, that as long time believers, it is very easy for us to slip into the place of thinking we are God’s favored son, we’ve done nothing wrong, in fact – we’re right (!), we’re “preferred” … and the danger is in all of this, we have completely forgotten our salvation, the Cross and our sin.  We think we “deserve” God because we are so “good”.  We’ve forgotten our responsibility for putting Jesus on that Cross.  It was my sin that put him there, not this other man that I am so quick to call a jerk.

I have no place to judge and I have no right to refuse forgiveness.  All my sin was washed away on that cross but I have allowed myself to start judging others and carrying around a lot of unforgiveness towards others.  It’s dangerous and it’ll eat you alive.

Pay attention.  See what Father is saying to you in this regard.

Flip through the slides.  Watch the talk by Jimmy Evans and pray that the good Lord will cleanse you of your “self-righteousness” because, my friend, you have NONE other than through Jesus and His blood.  To Him be all Glory!

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forgiveness (1)

here are the slides from this morning – forgiveness

We’re going to spend 3 weeks talking about two inter-connected things – loving people and forgiving people.

I believe that a part of the collateral damage of my sin and the Goliath’s in my life, I have developed a spirit that is judgmental and unforgiving.  And I also believe this spirit limits how much of God I can receive.  Oh, God can do anything and knock down any wall but on my part, I believe this spirit is limiting what I am capable of receiving from God.

It is time for this giant to fall.  It is time for me to be broken in my judgment and unforgiveness towards others.  And then…just watch what God can do.

It is my “sin”.  We don’t talk about sin much any more in the church.  Sin is such a politically incorrect word.  In society, when a man sexually harasses women, he is rushed off to rehab and we talk about his brokenness or we shift it to a “societal problem”.  And yes, it is brokenness and it is a societal problem … but … it is ALSO that man’s sin.

In my sin, I have hardened my heart towards other people.  I’ve become a quick judge of others and to the people that have caused me pain, I carry a ton of unforgiveness.  Think about it, how quick are you to just dismiss a person as a jerk, an idiot, or not being worthy of your time?  It is so easy to dismiss others, too easy to look down on them and to fail to see them with eyes of compassion and hearts of mercy…

But, “I love Jesus”…

“If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar”.  1 John 4:20

You just got punched in the mouth.  I did.

If because of my sin and my thinking I have every right to judge them, I am missing the single greatest call of Jesus on my life – – that I would love other people.

Do you love others?  Do you love Jesus?  What is the evidence of that?  Where is the fruit?  My life tends to look a lot like this …

forgiveness 1

What’s love got to do with it?  Even though I have been a believer for 30+ years, this is me.  It’s not pretty.  And God has shown me here in the past few weeks that I have naively ignored my sin.  As a result, I’m too settled into “my way” of doing life which, if left up to my innate self, can turn inwardly very quickly and become “all about me”.

This is a good litmus test to see where you are in this … what’s going to make you happy today?  As you start the day and look at what all will happen today, what is it that is going to make it a “great day” for you?  Tonight, when you look back, what will determine if it was a good day?  Likewise, there are going to be things that make you mad and upset today and that will make it a “bad day”.  What are those things?  What is the scale that you use to determine if it’ll be a good day or a bad one?

At the intersection of those two things, the true love of your heart is exposed…

forgiveness 2

Let me ask you this … how much of your joy, grief, celebration or anger that you will take on today … how much of it has anything whatsoever to do with the Kingdom of God?

You see, if you are like me, sin can very quickly turn your life inside/out and you can find yourself defining what will make you happy or mad solely based on you.  Not God.  Not His Kingdom.  Not sacrifices you can make, resources you can share, time you can give to others but instead, a good day will only be determined by how much money you make, what compliments you get, how noticed you are, if your wife meets your needs or just how entertained you are.  My man in mirror sees that it has become “me, me … it’s all about me.”

Absolutely NONE of this message is enjoyable.  My flesh hates being confronted with His Truth.  But it is Truth.

What does any of this have to do with forgiveness?  Perhaps a ton.  We are wounded, hurt, disappointed people.  Painful things have happened to all of us.  Goliath’s are present in all of our lives.  Too many of us have harbored resentment towards those that have hurt us and we’ve gone to bed in our anger and given the enemy a wide open door to whisper lies to us.  Sin turns us inward and we live “incurvatus”.  We harbor.  We dam up unforgiveness.  Revenge, abuse, hatred, bitter, we slander people, gossip, name calling, we reject others, we avoid intentionally so as to punish, we withhold love, bigotry, racism, sexism, we internally wish bad things to happen to others or when bad things do happen we jump to “they had it coming”.

If this is you … in any way … then, I suspect you have some unforgiveness in your heart.  It is your Dad or Mom, your brother, your former business partner, ex-wife, girlfriend from way back, a coach, a boss — there is someone in your past that hurt you deeply and you haven’t forgiven them and released them.  And … it is eating you up, robbing the joy in your life and limiting what God can do through you.

More to come…

finish strong

ManSchool will wrap up on Wednesday, May 23rd.  We have three weeks to go!  It’s been a great Spring for our Tribe.

We want to finish strong.  We’re going to go right at a very tough topic over these next three weeks that ties right in with the Goliath’s in our lives.

The one thing about ManSchool is that we are authentic and don’t shy away from tough talks.  It’s better to go right after these issues in our lives vs. stuffing them away hoping they don’t resurface.  If we don’t face them down and let God deal with them, they will resurface with a vengeance.

These next three weeks will be about gaining freedom.  If you’ve never come to ManSchool and feel out of the loop, you’re not.  You are welcome and encouraged to give it a try.  Come see for yourself.

The cure for the giant of anger? Forgiveness…

Dealing with this giant of anger comes back to forgiveness.  Forgiveness is an act of surrendering.  An act of letting go of control, letting go of “I must fix this”.  It is surrendering them and the pain they caused you to God, so He can deal with it.  Yes, they wronged me.  Yes, I was betrayed.  Yes, it was wrong … but … it’s on me to forgive. Long before anyone betrayed or belittled me, I betrayed and belittled God.  And I’m forgiven!  So, the person who has been forgiven much has much room to forgive others.

Ephesians 4:25-26 – “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’; do not let the sun go down while you’re still angry.”

You’ve got to let the anger go.  You’ve got to let God shift the tide of your heart.  The choice is yours.  You can continue to carry the anger and let it eat you up – or – today, right now, you can begin the process of releasing that other person.  Release the resentment.  Release the burden from your back, and the way it is released is through forgiveness.

Turn to the Lord and say, “God, by the grace of Jesus, I want you to know I forgive this person. You forgave me. I forgive them. I can’t hold against this person more than what you chose not to hold against me.”

Even if they don’t want to hear it, forgive them.  When you forgive, you’re releasing yourself.  When you do, the giants stop taunting.

Forgiveness is a process – not a “one and done”.  That relationship may never be restored.  It may require boundaries.  That’s OK.  But still forgive them.

When you lie down tonight, you want to sleep in peace in the shadow of the Cross.  You don’t want to carry anger one more day.  Lie down tonight and say, “Lord, I hold no grudges against anyone, because You hold no grudges against me.”  In that moment you forgive, the devil has no foothold.

It all this starts and ends with surrendering.  The anger that rages in you, the anger at your Dad, all the things he said to you or never said to you, the anger at your brother, the anger at your business partner or your ex-wife.  The anger at your child who turned from you and blamed you for all their problems.  This giant of anger MUST fall.  It’s eating you alive.

You need to forgive but first, you must surrender.

Believing is one thing.  Surrendering is harder.  If you believe God loves you and He longs for you to know His love, what would ever hold you back from surrendering? Usually it is because, “I want to keep my freedom”.

God – “Really?”

Me – “Yes, my life is shipwreck, but I want to keep my life, keep my control.”

God – “You want to keep the life you have instead of receiving the life I have for you?  So, your life is a wreck.  Look inside your soul.  Look at the emptiness.  Look at the brokenness.  Look at the loneliness and despair.  Look at the pain and the hurt.  Look at the wounds inside.  You want to keep that?  If you will give me that, I will give you hope and faith.  I’ll give you strength and courage.  I’ll pour love and life inside you.”

It’s still not easy.  Dead men are afraid of death. Surrendering looks like death but it is life.  Jesus came to end the pain of death and to begin the reign of life.  Anger eats you alive.  Freedom comes by forgiving them, letting them go to God and releasing your hold of trying to fix the past pain.  LET IT GO.  Let God do what only God can do.

Anger eats you alive.  Freedom comes by forgiving them, letting them go to God and releasing your hold of trying to fix the past pain.  LET IT GO.  Let God do what only God can do.
Anger eats you alive.  Freedom comes by forgiving them, letting them go to God and releasing your hold of trying to fix the past pain.  LET IT GO.  Let God do what only God can do.

 

Where I’m weak – how anger grows into a Goliath

Here is the video of Erwin McManus talking about fractals and anger.  Fast forward to 1:01:00 and run it through 1:11:50…

Some of these weaknesses we have, the Goliaths in our life … they are keeping us from the life that is truly life.  It is time for these giants to go down … for good.

We all want to be united with Christ in a resurrection but none of us wants to be united with Him in a crucifixion.  We spend our lives trying to avoid death not realizing we’re swimming in death.

A fractal is a replicating pattern that changes its scale as it replicates.  Sin is that replicating pattern that destroys your future, destroys your hope, destroys your relationships and destroys your soul.  You have self-replicating patterns in your lifethese giants we’ve been talking about.

Maybe there is a point where you stop picking sin and it just picks you.  It becomes a self-replicating pattern that you don’t own but rather, it owns you.  Oftentimes, everyone around us sees it – “why do you keep going back to the same self-destructive pattern?”  It’s no longer a choice.  You’ve lost the power to choose.  The pattern has become you – it eats away at your soul.

Anger is like this.  It starts small.  Left unchecked, it takes on a life of its own.  You rage at your wife.  The little things with your kids, ignites a storm of anger in you.  You’re that dad at the little league baseball game getting escorted out of the park.  Sooner or later, you wake up and notice your kid punching the wall in his rage and you’re left wondering, “Where did that come from?”

Sometimes it’s not even fractals we choose.  It’s a sin passed onto you by someone that came before you.  It’s a pattern given to you by your father or grandfather or your culture.  You didn’t even choose it rather it was placed in your soul.  You’ve become a racist or you’re hostile, unforgiving and bitter.  You became negative or cynical and it was passed onto you.  Some of you are the sons of alcoholics who were sons of alcoholics and that fractal was passed onto you.  Some of you, your brokenness was passed onto you and you’re a slave.  Jesus came to break the patterns of these self-destructive patterns that keep replicating in our lives.

Maybe it starts with an offense.  Someone offended you, wronged you.  Then you chose not to forgive.  You allowed it to simmer and it became bitterness that began to eat away at your soul.  Then the bitterness became anger and you wanted to harm someone.  Anger became true hatred and you wished death for them.  Anger becomes hostility, which becomes violence, which becomes murder which then becomes war and then, genocide.  We all pay attention at the genocide and war and murder levels.  But none of us want to discuss the lower levels … the anger, the bitterness, the unforgiveness and the original offense … because … those are us.  They are me.  They are personal.  The big headline grabbing war/genocide, yes, those are problems we can agree must be dealt with but …

What if we stepped back for a moment and realized that the entire human dilemma – the murder, war, genocide – is just a fractal of my soul replicated to a grand scale?

more to come…

How anger can (and must) fall…

Did you feed your kids last night?  How about the night before?  When you fill your car up, is that a one-and-done thing … or … do you have to repeat that process about every week?  Your iPhone?  Can you recharge it once and that’s it for life or is it a continual process of recharging?  How about your exercise or sleep?

Life is a series of recharging ourselves.  You don’t sleep just once.  It’s daily.  You don’t eat once.  It’s 3x a day.  Life is a repeating process of drawing upon fuel.  Spiritually, life is a series of continually recharging/refueling with the Truth.

READ Psalm 23.  Do it every day for 40 days.  Goliath came every morning for 40 days.  He harassed them every evening for 40 straight days.  Your enemy is coming at you every single morning, every single evening.  Reading the 23rd Psalm takes 40 seconds.  If you’re prayerful through it, it can take 4 minutes.  Read it.  Let it wash over you.  Daily.  You’re going to need it.  It’s fuel for your soul.

The giants come.  They come every day.  They come every morning spewing their lies, heaping on shame.  We must wake up every day to the present reality that Jesus has already won.  We must link up to what Jesus has done, who He is in us and talk like He talks to us.  And when we do, things change.  Draw upon the Vine daily for your life source.

That’s the first step to taking the giant of anger down (and out) of your life.  Here are some more…

1. Recognizing God was angry with us – Long before I was angry or betrayed, I betrayed God.  I did not pick Him.  I turned my back on Him.  It makes God angry when our sin betrays His goodness and when our pride belittles His glory.  On the day of God’s wrath, the world will see how angry God is over sin.

He is righteous.  He is holy.  He’s not just a little better than us.  He’s perfect in every way, righteous through and through.  The things we tolerate, He won’t tolerate.  The things we watch in entertainment, He doesn’t watch.  The things we let creep into our lives, He won’t let creep into His life because His righteousness burns in a flame of glory.

When God returns and walks into the room of contemporary culture, it won’t be pretty.  When He walks in, it will evaporate all sin.  It’s going to be a terrifying day.

Why?  When I sin, I betray God. I belittle God by saying, “I’ve got this” – or – “I don’t need You today” – or – “This will meet my need faster than You will today” – or – “I’m going to take this short-cut because I don’t like Your path today” – or – “I’m tired and don’t want to dig in and fight today” … when I belittle the Glory of God or I betray God, it makes Him angry.  We must realize this.

But, God’s grace has overcome His anger Amen!  Praise God!

“You forgave the iniquity of Your people and covered all their sins. Selah!  You set aside all Your wrath and turned from Your fierce anger.  Restore us again and put away Your anger forever.  Show us Your unfailing love and grant us Your salvation.”  Psalm 85:1-2

2. God has peace with us He loved us but hated our sin.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  That is very good news for an angry world.

“At that time, you were without the Messiah … foreigners to the covenants of the promise, with no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.  For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing walls of hostility… when Christ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away.”   Ephesians 2:12-17

At the Cross, God made peace with His anger over our sin.  As a follower of Christ, we know the day of wrath is not coming for us.

3. We believe God is our avenger – The giants must fall because they demoralize us and diminish the glory of God.  How does anger do that?  It causes us to rob from God who says He says He is – the One who will avenge all wrongs.  If I believe God, I will let it go for God to deal with it.  God will fix it.  He will hold them accountable.  Christ died so I can have peace with God and in that peace, I can make peace with others…

“Detest evil; cling to what is good… rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil… Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.  If your enemy is hungry, feed them.  If he is thirsty, give him something to drink… Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:12-21

Repaying evil with evil never works.  All it does is breed more evil.

If you extend peace, you’re saying, “Yes, I’ve been hurt but God is bigger.  I got hurt but God healed me. I got hurt but thank God He made peace with me and at the Cross He gave me the power to make peace with you.”

Christians ought to be walking through the world offering a better model.  I’ve known God too long to be bitter.  Too long to not be walking in what He’s done for me.  Too long to hold that grudge against you.  I’m too forgiven to not forgive.  Let go of your anger.  God’s paid it all so you don’t have to carry this burden another day.  Forgive them.  Let them go.  Trust the Father.  Peace will follow.  Selah!

 

Anger must fall (2)

A few of you have asked about theses videos.  They aren’t on the website but you can buy the DVDs.  Here is a link to the videos filmed with the small groups…

https://passionresources.com/products/louie-giglio-goliath-must-fall-study-bundle

Here is a link to the 5-part sermon series (including the one we saw this morning)…

https://passionresources.com/collections/louie-giglio-messages/products/louie-giglio-goliath-must-fall

Aren’t you tired of being mad all the time?  It’s such a weary way to live. Aren’t you tired of holding onto that grudge you’ve held so long?  Today, you can let it go and trust God with the outcome.  The moment you do, you are free, and the giant of anger can fall.

Imagine how powerful it would be to release the mission you carry of righting every wrong.

What if you instead trusted God, let Him handle all the details and you believed in forgiveness and you extended forgiveness?

As believers, it is imperative that we live in the finished work of Jesus.  We must not allow the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives – something that looks small on the front-end but 5-10-15 years later, you discover a giant living in the middle of the room.  We accommodate that thing and don’t let God take it down.

Anger must fall because God wants you free from this demoralizing giant.  God wants glory in our lives by showing the world He is bigger than anything we face.

Anger is a giant that can shut down God’s possibilities in our lives.  If we’re not careful, our anger can burn someone else’s life down.  It will definitely burn your life down.

Angry people always look to tear down others.  Eliab belittled David.  No protection for his little brother.  No “I’ve got your back”.  Instead, he rips David, belittles him and questions his heart.  He challenges his character.  When you make character assassinations, you’re tipping your hand as to what is in your heart.  God looked at Eliab and said his heart was not good.  Eliab’s anger burned.  Rejection. Not getting picked is one of the huge roots of anger in our lives.

Underneath anger many times is betrayal or belittlement.  Betrayal is real and breeds jealousy.  Jealousy is a tough thing to carry.  It forces us to compare and compete.  It silences us from celebrating and affirming.  If we live in families that compare and compete and can’t celebrate and affirm, we live in war because the giant of anger is lurking in the room.

A lot of our anger traces back to our parents.  If you’re angry, it might have to do with your parents.  He abandoned me.  He was/is uninterested in me.  He picked someone else over me.  He hurt me.  He was emotionally unavailable to me.  He left our family.  He cheated on us – not just Mom – but he cheated on all of us.  He didn’t take care of us.  He didn’t take care of himself.  He won’t face the facts.  He’s too aggressive.  Too passive.  He’s gone all the time.  I’m mad at Mom for putting so much stress on my Dad.  I’m mad at her for hounding him.  I’m angry for the things he’s said to me – or – the things he never said to me.  I’m angry because I was never good enough for him.

Your anger can go back to parents who betrayed or belittled you.  But, we need to remember, Jesus has killed this giant of anger.  It may still be talking, still able to inject poison but Jesus has finished the battle.

When Louie read that list of reasons we might be angry, the room this morning grew very silent.  Many of us have powerfully felt or still profoundly feel these emotions.  This isn’t an exercise of blaming our parents.  Instead, it is a rational realization that family wounds are real and potent.  Many of us denied those or stuffed them down to attempt getting on with our lives and today, we find ourselves raging with anger ourselves and we question, “where did this come from?”  Push into this.  It is time for this giant to fall.  The collateral damage you can inflict on others you love is too costly to ignore this.  It’s time to forgive those who wronged you and pick up the responsibility of changing the narrative of your story.

What is the first step?  Remember …

Anger is refusing to see our own weakness and instead we focus on another’s weakness. At the Cross, I see how God resolved His righteous anger towards us.

“They really did me wrong”yeah, but I first wronged God.

“They really did abandon me”yeah, but I first abandoned God.

“They threw it in my face”yeah, but I threw it in God’s face.

I can no longer blame others for my sin.  Long before anyone wronged me, I turned my back on God.  And yet … and yet … He continually pursued me.  God loved me enough to rescue me despite my worship of other idols.  Jesus came and paid it all for me.  It’s time for me to take my anger and lay it at the foot of the Cross.  I’m free and forgiven.  It’s time to forgive and free others and let God be God.