by Pastor Tim Burt
There are truly some incredible things that people have accomplished in this world. There are those that have swum the English Channel, climbed Mt. Everest, biked across America, held their breath underwater for over four minutes, pulled a semi-truck trailer over one block's distance with a chain and their bare hands, and on and on... There are many books written on amazing feats that people have accomplished.
There is one amazing feat that I know the Lord would like us all not only to accomplish, but to do so on an ongoing basis. It is stated in 1 Corinthians 13:5. "Love...keeps no record of wrongs." Now at first that statement might not even make you stop and think, so I suggest you do just that. Think about how many times you remember what someone did or said to you, that made you mad, offended you, or bugged you. You might at first think, I don't keep grudges or a record of wrongs. I don't get offended. I don't get bugged easily. The truth probably is, you do much more than you realize. You very likely remember something that someone did that bothered you at this moment. But if not, don't worry. That moment will come to your remembrance suddenly—it will be right there before you!
If every person that we deal with closely in our life had a clean slate at each new encounter, our patience level with them would go so much further. We pray that God is that way with us—not remembering our wrongs and dealing with us from a clean slate. And He is! It is one of the awesome qualities of His character and our inherited promise through our faith in Jesus Christ. "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." Isaiah 43:25 (NIV) Yet, we don't seem to want to be as generously forgiving with others as we hope God is with us. Does that seem fair to you?
The Bible tells us God is love and that love keeps no record of wrongs. It sounds impossible but it's not. It's supernatural! It's God's nature to forgive and not remember when someone repents saying their sorry. He removes it forever. That's what Jesus' blood has made provision for. It covers and washes our offenses and wrong-doings from God's eyes. That brings us relief and allows us to be intimate with God without threat. And He would like you to practice by faith, that kind of forgiveness and keeping no record of wrongs with others.
We've all been hurt by people. I'm no exception. There are some pretty cruel—even evil people out there. And they do hurt people. You and I have hurt people, Maybe not intentionally, but maybe accidentally or maybe because of our own selfishness. If we realize it, we should correct it an apologize. It's how we grow and be more careful to be loving and kind.
God is not asking you to be a punching bag for evil or cruel people. He may allow you to appropriately confront a situation, but that person may not have enough of God's character to deal with it right. In that case, there are some times when we just have to walk away. There are some times when we need to create space between ourselves and others—not unforgiveness, but space! There are other times when a person is so toxic, we must keep our distance. They have the capacity to hurt again and again. But, we can forgive them in our heart and pray for them. God can use that opportunity to influence their heart and draw them to Himself so that they might change. That's what Jesus did from the cross when the soldiers were dividing up His garments. Luke 23:34 (NKJV) "Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." That is what Stephen did when he was being stoned for following Christ. Acts 7:59-60 (NIV) "While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep (died).
One day the Lord told me that I was keeping a record of a man's wrong and that I was stuck in unforgiveness toward him. I had to repent and totally forgive this man. The Lord instructed me to pray for him. As I did, the ill feelings left and I could finally feel the forgiveness that I had given him by faith. What a burden to get off my back! Forgiveness isn't a natural experience. It's a supernatural experience! It brings healing and allows you to move forward in your life.
There are some people who have done some amazing feats that are fun to read about. Are you ready to try one of the greatest feats of all? Are you ready to practice keeping no records of wrong? Go for it—but only with the Lord's help. You'll fail in your own flesh! It is an amazing feat that will liberate you from carrying the list of wrongs and bad feelings toward others that have burdened you for far too long. Being merciful is love. Forgiving others is freedom. Keeping no record of wrongs is the development of the character of God in you!
Mark 11:25 (NKJV) "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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