Love in today’s society must reign. it doesn’t matter what part of the world or who you are. Love must reign. It must if we intend to live as Christians. And in these times; we must stand in accordance with God’s Word to love our neighbors regardless of what we think of them. We must love and be prepared in and out of season to walk and live in love.
In a recent conversation; I listened to a story about a group of people were discouraged and disappointed after studying and watching to learn about the Shemitah, the blood moons; and other various things that were expected to take place.
These people followed along intently and believed all the words spoken and all the concepts taught; and waited for what would occur. Sounds great right? Except; it didn’t. The expected calamity did not strike on the day or the days that were prophecied. As a result; the group was left with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Situations like this are not uncommon; they are just not probably talked about daily at the dinner table. It is one though that leads us all to be prepared and in a way that only is in love.
You see; you can be the best prepper and listen to this alleged prophet or that and have every study guide and 2,000 rounds of ammo but if you have no love for your neighbor you have nothing. What do you think you will do when calamity strikes and you instead of love; hate? What will happen to not only your neighbor but to you as well? If you allow yourself to get discouraged by one person then what will happen when there are three or four or more that have a false word? There can be no room for anything but love; and love for another.
No one is doubting that these are tough times for the world. One doesn’t need bifocals or binoculars to see it. It’s here. Look around. Some are looking for that specific date except the largest clue that is evident when Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 25:13: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (NIV) The search to know this or that instead of focusing on love and hearing from God will only serve as a distraction and right now; who needs more distractions?
It is time that in order to know and be in the know that it isn’t about this person teaching or speaking that; but the Almighty God speaking directly to you. Period. When you get to a place of hearing directly from Him and in love- you will be more prepared for anything than you can possibly imagine.
God gave every person free will. While each person was and is created in His image; this does not mean that a person has to stay within that realm. The freedom of choice to choose any lifestyle is up to each person; however, let it be known that God’s Word also provides us with the rewards and consequences of all of the choices made at any given time. As a result; Deuteronomy makes it very clear in verse 30: 15: “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.” (NLT) The beginning statement of the verse too is a command for all people reading the Word that they must pay attention. The following sentence explains that there is a choice and in choosing one comes what comes with it and the other choice what too comes with it. One must think wisely about the choices made as every choice comes with an outcome. People have the power to choose because God is a just God. God gave man dominion over the earth and of themselves. If God did not provide free will; then He would not be a just God and there would have been no need for His Son to die on the cross to save anyone from their sins. God could then be considered a liar which is contrary to who He is. In her book, ‘Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook’ June Hunt writes that ‘You must face the truth of what actually happened and not hinder true healing with rationalization and false thinking.’ (P 178 p4) Getting to a place of forgiveness is a choice and moving from the false ideas that one has about the given situation and person to the reality without rationalization is key. While it is key it too can prove to be challenging because every person has a level of bias although overcoming that bias is possible. Once a person makes the choice; through forgiveness he or she will probably recognize that a correction of perception took place.
Before the act of forgiveness a person may believe it occurred this way or that; although after the fact the entire situation and perception is different. In my life, I was abandoned by my biological mother and left to be put in a foster home. I lived there for two years until I was adopted into an abusive adoptive home. I lived in that home for nine years until my adoptive parents placed me in a homeless shelter. I met my biological mother almost 30 years later and while I still hated her at that time it was after I forgave her that I learned the truth. Everything changed in that moment and forevermore.
What I learned was that the reason I never saw her again during our court appointed visits was because the case worker gave her an ultimatum that if she would have to sell me to him for $10,000.00 or never see me again. When she said no he simply changed the appointment time and we never saw each other again. I believed she abandoned me all over again and that I truly was a throwaway. No answers were given. Not one answer; that was until we were reunited decades later. The truth revealed changed everything. No longer did I view her as this fat, sloppy, lazy incapable person who I loathed but to someone who lost a child.
My heart was filled with compassion toward her and that healing in Christ took place. My life and hers was forever changed. It was a choice to forgive and another choice to let go of the deep seeded pain that caused so much turmoil in my life. Through this one example; it is my prayer for you that the lesson of forgiveness is not one to be taken lightly as disobedience is not honored in God’s Kingdom. Not only this; people perish when we choose the route of disobedience; or really the route of death.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 it reads that, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (NIV) To begin with further examination; when a person chooses life his or her children may live. If this isn’t a reason to choose life and forgiveness then who knows what a good reason is! We must grasp that forgiveness and unforgiveness are passed down from generation to generation. Your children will live what you give them to. Through the choice of life; future generations have not only hope but a chance at the life God intends for them too. They will not have to overcome the turmoil you leave them; should you be obedient and leave them with something like forgiveness and love. As one example it is evident in today’s society that there is a need for forgiveness so to stop the racial divide that is lingering and growing in the United States and across the world. Television and the media have mastered the art of stirring emotions of the people to get the impact desired. According to the Charles Johnston, MD., “Soap operas and afternoon talk shows prosper through their ability to whip up polarized emotions. And the evening news, sold as television’s time for serious analysis, has increasingly become an ever more predictable litany of each day’s killings and disasters. Serious information is secondary at best.” http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/addicted-violence-has-american-dream-become-nightmare When we examine not just the fact of what the outcome is; but rather the intent it is one that unless you are aware of it you will fall victim. When we as individuals, Christians, a nation grasp what the larger picture is then and only then will we be on the offense to stop the hatred and living in unforgiveness. Until we turn off the television and open our Bibles will we be able to see that love can and will reign. The acts of the wicked are all around us but so long as we engage in falling into the trap of allowing our emotions to get involved; we will only exacerbate the problem; regardless of whether or not we claim we go to Church on Sunday.
The choice to live in forgiveness is primarily the choice to be obedient to God’s Word; and also a choice to let go of the past. We must realize that in order to continue forward living in peace with ourselves, in our relationships with Jesus and with others that it must be done. The acts of the forefathers have come and gone and the choice to perpetuate the hatred toward future generations through unforgiveness is only stealing our lives and the lives of our future generations.
Restoration to God is needed because of the choices made in Genesis that caused Adam and Eve to fall. It was never God’s intent for people to be separated from Him. It is not His intent for people today to be separated from Him; yet by the choice to be disobedient to forgiveness; people are. It is very clear in Gen 3:9-10: “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?’ He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” How often in your life are you hiding from God; all the while He is just waiting for you to be real and return to Him?
When examining this scripture is must be stated that God would be not need to ask Adam and Eve where they were because God is the all-knowing, omnipotent God. He not only did not need to ask where Adam and Eve were; He also knew the decision that they were going to make before they made the decision. He already knows our thoughts and motives and what His purest intentions are; along with what His original plan is for our lives. As we begin to understand how unforgiveness and forgiveness both play a part; we will be able to recognize the changes that manifest either bring us further or closer to Him.
Let it also be known and stated that Adam and Eve would not need to hide if they had not sinned in the first place. It is very clear that sin keeps people hiding; and that is bondage. People today in society are suffering at alarming rates trying to hide in their sins yet it is on display for the world to see. It does not matter if it is sex outside of marriage, living a homosexual lifestyle; or anything else contrary to His Word. Anything not of Him separates and keeps people separated from Him in every realm of life. It is no different than a child hiding today from a parent because of the cookies stolen out of the cookie jar. The separation caused by sin is evident in every facet of life and through forgiveness; it can be restored.
The final point about this scripture that is revealing and should give every person hope is that Adam through his answer, ‘…He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” that he heard from God. He also reveals he had a relationship with God. God spoke directly to Adam and Eve and they heard Him. You see; God is no different today in that He is speaking to you and perhaps more often than you have ever known or realized. Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever; (Hebrews 13:8) it should give people worldwide hope that they too can hear from God and that God will speak to them. If you are struggling with hearing from God go before Him. Look around you. Just pause and look around. Ask Him to speak to you in a way that you can understand; let it be clear as a fencepost. He is there and speaking directly to you; it is simply a matter of learning how to pay attention. It is a matter of being still before Him. It is a matter of choice and a matter of removing all the obstacles that keep you separated from Him. But rest assured of this; He is there waiting for that communication with you! It is just one reason why He created you from before the foundation of the earth.
Forgiveness is a command. It is a way of life that brings peace, restoration, healing and much more that each person will experience through the lifestyle of forgiveness. While there are the commonly known ’10 Commandments’ there are also others that are important to note.
The most relevant for discussion is reviewed in Matthew 18-21-22 “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” What is of utmost importance in these scriptures is not the fact that Peter asked the questions in the first place as most would think. The most important and unnoticed point is that Peter already knew he was to forgive! Yes he knew what he was supposed to do; although it may appear that he too struggled with it because he too was just a man.
Forgiveness and the command to do it is not the shock for most; it is the fact that they actually have to that is where life gets tricky! It is the letting go of the emotions of pain, anger, hurt, resentment, and myriad of others that take poll position. In the position of Peter; he already knew that his brothers would sin against him. He already knew that it would be more than one time and for more than one thing. He knew. He again is no different than you or me. Do you not know that people are all alike and all fall short of His glory? With this; it then should make simple the mere fact that people are going to make mistakes; no different than you or me.
Through forgiveness and it being a lifestyle; it will help deter the attack from the enemy when there is pain. You see; if you are on the offense in forgiveness; when others come against you in some form or fashion you will know how to handle it properly. It is when there is no proper understanding in place that when a situation brings a blind-side to your life that you won’t have to take longer to heal and recover from. You will already know and will be on the offense. Does it mean there will be no pain? Certainly not. But what it is does mean is that like Peter; you must know that pain and hurt will come and that forgiveness will be required.
This is why it is imperative to be on the side of God and know His Word so that when times of pain come; you are equipped to stand firm on His Word and believe and accept that He will never leave you or forsake you. This is why it too is important to understand and grasp forgiveness so that you are able to be obedient to the command in God’s Word and also live in the freedom that it provides. If not; the consequences will be in abundance and leave you living in lack overall with a reduced quality of life. And that certainly is not one that is befitting of a Christian who is expected to live in the authority of Jesus Christ.
People today are no different. We all already know we need to forgive; however, as a result of God being God His Word provides everyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see with the ability to know His Word and be able to follow all the commands in it. God provides the instruction, direction and outcome of all of His Word. There is not one answer not provided for in His Word. Forgiveness is one such a command that has everything inclusive of it for the act to be delivered and the rewards that come through and with it.
What must be understood is that regardless of what other people think or do; obedience to His Word should and must reign supreme for all Believers. Forgiveness is not the excusing of any act or behavior but rather a display of an act of the command to forgive. And to be obey is better than to sacrifice.