Friday, August 30, 2013

How Do We Strengthen Our Homes?

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

What can we do to strengthen our homes?  Does the Bible have an answer for us? Keep in mind continually what God calls us to do, He enables and equips us to do. What is most important in our families that causes relationships to be sustained for the long haul? The answer: FORGIVENESS. Some families are filled with bitterness, filled with anger, filled with hate, filled with vengeance towards each other. They believe that retaliation somehow is a virtue, that getting back is somehow right and healthy. These attitudes are not only approved in our culture  but encouraged by counselors and psychologists who tell us we need to vent our anger and our hatred. 

Unforgiveness imprisons people in their past. As long as you are unwilling to forgive offenders  and their offenses, you are shackled to them both. As long as you are unwilling to forgive the offender and the offense, you keep it alive and the pain is there, like an open sore. When you won't forgive you are sentencing yourself to go through life feeling as bad now as you did in the past when the offense was committed. You choose to love hate and cultivate it through your life. Unforgiveness imprisons you in the pain of your past.

Forgiveness is an openly declared and personally granted promise. It is an undeserved and an unearned love that affirms to an offender that there is no anger, no hatred, no desire for vengeance, no retaliation necessary. The guilt has been removed and the blame is gone. This is the exact attitude of God towards sinners. God grants to us in Scripture a verbally declared, personally given promise of undeserved and unearned love. He is no longer angry and desires no retaliation, or condemnation. The guilt and shame have been removed and what you see is God’s attitude towards those who have put their faith in Him. It's hard to destroy a relationship, if you continually forgive every offense. Colossians 3:13 Paul says, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. It is godlike to forgive.

The one who does not forgive will not enjoy the love of other Christians. If they will not forgive another, then the Lord is going to turn them over to the tormentors. This is the chastening of the Lord which might be stress, hardship, illness, difficulty. James 2:13 says the same thing. "Judgment will be merciless to the one who shows no mercy." "Blessed are the merciful," Matthew 5:7, "for they shall obtain mercy." If they don't have the mercy of forgiveness, God's going to turn them over to the tormentors.

Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.”  Here God exhorts you to continually give yourself to God. The enemy that you are dealing with is Satan, always, trying to obscure and pervert the truth and keep you from forgiving your offender. Matthew 6:14,15 says, For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. This is a powerful statement If you forgive, you'll be forgiven. What happens to you as a believer when you choose to sin and when you get involved in prolonged sin? You begin to be chastened and you forfeit blessing. Your eternal forgiveness is taken care of, but the here and now temporal forgiveness that withholds chastening and pours out blessing is not going to be yours.

I've seen people with emptiness in their lives, people with a lack of joy, a lack of power, a lack of meaningful relationships in their families due to the fact that there is no forgiveness of sin in their hearts towards a person in their family. When they will not forgive, God continues to chasten and life is miserable and blessing isn't there.

Thought: Forgiveness brings heaven to earth. Forgiveness puts heaven's peace into the sinful heart of man because, forgiveness is the image of God. Forgiveness is the advancement of Christ's Kingdom and the furtherance of the Gospel. Forgiveness is what makes a relationship last. How do you strengthen your home? FORGIVE...

The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy. Our thoughts become shackled, our emotions are chained, the will is almost paralyzed. But when we show mercy, all of these bonds are broken, and we enter into a joyful liberty that frees us to share God’s love with others. - Warren W. Wiersbe

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