One Last Person to Forgive

6 04 2014

Ron sat across the table from me looking into his coffee cup more than drinking from it. He was tired, even more, emotionally exhausted and just wanted someone to talk to or perhaps sit with him for a while.  Ron had been in the counseling ministry for over 20 years and had seen, heard and dealt with many problems people brought to him, but the one he was now facing brought this bigImage scraping figure of a man to tears.  His heart was breaking after visiting an individual we both knew, due to the words that this person said to him.  Our friend had been diagnosed with a fast spreading form of cancer just a few months prior and now was days from succumbing to this deadly disease.  Ron visited him several times sharing Bible passages and telling of healing for the soul, pleading for him to accept the gift of eternal life offered through Jesus Christ.  And each time our friend would listen as he laid there in his bed laboring for breath to say the same words over and over again, “I’m sorry Ron, I just can’t do that.”  What was the reason for his rejection?   Was it unbelief in what Ron told him or that he didn’t need healing and Heaven?  No, he acknowledged he believed every word, but he was also thoroughly convinced that because of wrongs he had committed in his life, he was beyond forgiveness–even from God.  Okay, that’s case study One.

Case Two is another friend of mine, someone I’ve know since moving to Indiana back in ‘74. Contrary to Case One (Will call him Merle), who has known Christ as his personal Savior for a good portion of his adult life.  Sounds like someone who should possess many positive attributes, right?  “Bzzzz!”  Sorry, wrong answer.  In all the years I’ve known Merle, he’s spent most of his time being the poster boy for the Gloomy Gus Society!  He tries to keep it hidden, but the majority of the time he is emotionally down, distraught and troubled.  So what’s got Merle beaten down?  Same as the first guy, unforgiveness of himself for wrongs committed earlier in life.  Now, many would say here’s an individual who shouldn’t be burdened with such a load of guilt, after all he has the promise of forgiveness of all sins when he came to Christ, right?  Come on Merle, ya got “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” and “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” You’re good; God has taken care of your problem, forever!  Isn’t that enough?  Well, unfortunately for some, even in Christ, the answer is a resounding no.

Okay, I don’t want to labor this subject, so let’s get to finding the answer to forgiving yourself.  Like both of my friends, I have spots in my life that I wish never occurred, moments that I’m not proud of, that if there was a way to go back in time and correct them I certainly would; but I can’t.  I tried several ways to get past my demons, but they would always show up again.  It wasn’t until I learned a valuable lesson about God that I was able to get past my “dark ages.”  And the lesson went like this;

Never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, (Gotta take a break, fingers are getting worn out hitting the same keys. Okay I’m back!) never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, never, never never, never, never, “NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” let anybody or anything convince you that God can’t handle your bad luggage and love you just the same.  He doesn’t mince words, puts it right out there for all to understand how He feels for each of us.  

Romans 8: 38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  That’s where my hope lies, when I came to Christ and where I am in Him today. Yes, those old memories occasionally come crashing back on me, but they don’t stay because I refuse to be controlled by them.  I have a God who loves me so much He can cover those ills, those sins.  Sure there are scars left that I regret, but doesn’t change God and how He sees me, sees you and His offer of forgiveness no matter what you’ve done.  That goes out to ones who relate to either Case One or Case Two; healing is for all who will accept, the choice is yours.

Still I confess, I’ve stayed bothered by my friend Merle and others like him who call themselves Christians, but live like Sad Sacks no matter how much they know about God’s grace and mercy.  I have quite a few preacher types who allow this old gray one to call them friend and will let me pose questions to them, so I asked them, “Why is it that some Christians can’t find forgiveness for themselves?”  The answer was the same with each, “Primarily because they don’t want it, they choose to hang on to it because they choose to live with the pain.  It’s not that God can’t fix it, it’s like saying, ‘God, I really don’t want you to fix it.’”  Wow, that seems a little harsh, but the cold truth is that’s exactly how it is with many in this situation.  As a Christian, you’ve been given something special, something so amazing and wonderful that it should envelop your entire being. After all if we have the Gift that was given freely and eternally to us, shouldn’t we be living our lives before the world in such a way that others will see and perhaps want the same for themselves; give it some thought, okay?

I’m going to close with this, we all in life “Travel the Rock Road” and it’s not always an easy or friendly path to take.  Adding to the burden of the road by lugging with you unforgiveness, be it for others or yourself will the make the travel harder.  In this short moment we call life, you don’t need that, no one does.  Having a Traveling Companion has made all the difference for this man.  He helps carry the load, even if the load is me personally.  Throw down that unforgiveness my friend, it’s not worth carrying anymore, not when you have something better offered to you; Grace, Mercy Forgiveness.

Yeah, I think I can live with that!!




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