I think sometimes forgiveness is hard.
In fact it is easier to want it than give it.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean a blank slate and its not forgetting. Things that happen are there, they are done… part of the past. God doesn’t forget those things and neither do we.
Forgiveness is not forgetting, but it is about not holding something against someone.
In fact it is easier to hold a grudge than it is to forgive.
Forgiveness is not avoiding conversations about what has happened and it’s results. Forgiveness opens the door to handle the wrong that has occurred. It allows us to deal with things without hurting each other… again. It allows conviction to take hold and opens the door for heart change.
Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Trust takes time to rebuild. Forgiveness sets up boundaries that enable that to happen.
I have never de-friended anyone on Facebook… never. But sometimes people get upset when it comes to the Bible and its instructions on how to live. Forgiveness is saying I am still your friend, can’t support what you are doing but still friends.
Forgiveness prevents us from looking down on the person that isn’t living right. Forgiveness is a reminder that you an I do not live right all the time. We need forgiveness just as much as the next person.
It is easier to de-freind someone than it is to deal with the issue.
Forgiveness opens the door to freedom… the freedom that happens when some one says “I was wrong”… this is a freedom that is seldom experienced but is always available.
There are some that will never deal with the issues they have created in their lives. I’ve been a pastor long enough to know that. If someone will not change… forgiveness sets up boundaries until they do. People that refuse to repent are dangerous to be around. Forgiveness is not the absence of protection. You do not have to be buddy buddy with the people you have forgiven. Forgiveness is remembering what has happened without holding it against the person. It allows us to use wisdom concerning how we will approach them in the future. There are some people that are poison… forgiveness responds to that.
Jesus opened the door of forgiveness to everyone, but not everyone took Him up on His offer. Some even fought Him after His resurrection. The comments above are rooted in the life He lived for us. The resurrection was proceeded by people who were friends with Him at the beginning of the week and three days later de-freinded Him and put Him on the cross. Even with that He forgave them, though He did not condone what they were doing, and He left the door of forgiveness open to them so they would have a way to make things right… to say they were wrong…
He does the same for us… because He loves us.
He loves us.
Forgiveness is rooted in love… and love never fails.
So I was thinking today…
as a result of reading Ezekiel…
that it would have been hard for me… very hard… to do what the Lord asked him to do.
In fact I think I might would have resisted and rebelled against the Lord. There are somethings in life I’m not sure I would be able to do unless it was in dire need. Now, I love Jesus and I am sure He could create circumstances where I would not only be faced with doing whatever He was asking and where I would only have that option or die. So I say all this with a level of fear of Him and respect.
So what is it?
Well, after a long list of what to do including a very strict dietary plan He tells him how to fix/cook his food…
“and you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it… on human dung.” Ezekiel 4:12
Now I often feel like throwing up after going to a public bathroom and smelling the smells. The thought of eating food that is cooked on a fire of human dung makes my stomach turn. I have smelled the smell of human dung burning before in India, and trust me it is something you would never want as a scented candle.
So Ezekiel speaks at this point and objects in a very biblical way, he says – “but Lord God! I have never defiled myself!” translation – not only do I not want to do this, Your word tells me it will defile me and I have never done that before.
So God listens and says, ok I see what you are saying here (my paraphrase ) so I will let you use cow dung instead.
We call them cow patties. I guess they are cleaner…
and he is going to do this for 390 days. That is over a year…
What are we having for Thanksgiving? – Lets smoke our turkey with cow dung this year – Uncle Ezekiel is coming over…
So when we say, or think… “I will do anything the Lord ask me to do” do we really mean it?
I will have to say there are somethings I hope and pray He never asks me to do and I hope and pray He never tests me with where those limits of my faith really are.
Do I want to be faithful to Him and obedient? Yes
Is there a line where that faithfulness and obedience would be a struggle? Yes
and before you comment stop a moment and think… because I am sure that everyone reading this would have something they would struggle with doing if God asked them too.
So what is the point of this?
God is real and in the realm of possibilities He could one day ask us to do something that would test our faith… are you walking with Him daily so you will be “somewhat” ready to engage that struggle? Are you already engaged in the “easy” things He has asked all of us to do so one day you will be “somewhat” ready to engage the more difficult things He may ask you to do?
None of us want to be placed in a situation similar to Ezekiel’s, but man – I have a lot of respect for Him because he obeyed, and right now I’m not sure if I would have.
I also do not need confirmation if I would or wouldn’t…