Tuesday, February 2, 2016
I would like to share with you today, a condensed version of a message I preached on 1/24/16 about un-forgiveness entitled “Freeing The Captives.” The reason for the title is that, theologically speaking, it is illegal for Christians not to forgive others. In the dictionary, another word for “forgive” is “pardon.” When inmates are pardoned, they are set free, or “forgiven.”
Many of you remember a man by the name of Ariel Castro who was arrested in May of 2013 for having secretly and illegally held captive 3 young ladies in his home in Cleveland against their will for over 10 years. I bet many thought of him, “what a jerk, pervert, dastardly individual, scum of the earth, etc,” Even his own family disowned him and he was sentenced to life plus 1000 years in prison, with no chance for parole. The irony was that, in the end, he could not bear living as a prisoner, something he had subjected 3 young ladies to for over ten years, committing suicide one month into his sentence by hanging himself with bedsheets in his prison cell. What this man did was not only illegal, it was vile and cruel. How much different can it be, then, with those who won’t forgive their offenders? I’m sure many of them don’t realize it, but they too are holding their unforgiven captives against their will. Most people know the Lord’s prayer and can recite it, but many ignore or fail to take into consideration what comes after the “Amen”, namely, Jesus uttering these words: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15) Anything God has ever required of us is geared for our benefit. Obviously, then, when we forgive it is for our benefit.
If there is someone in your life you have yet to forgive, please set them free. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor as well. Just this past Sunday morning, I heard a radio pastor touching on this same subject. He used a phrase I liked so much, I plan to put it up on our church marquee. He said: “Un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”
Memory verse for the week (1 Peter 1:22) “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”