Look upon me and be merciful to me, As Your custom is toward those who love Your name. Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts. Psalm 119:132-134
When Unforgiveness is a Good Thing
Let me be clear about one thing – being an unforgiving person is not a good thing, it’s a bad thing. However, it’s a bad thing from which we can discover a couple or three good things. What redeeming trait can come from evil, you ask? First, the recognition that you might be merciless. Are you a Christian who hates Michael Vick for what he did to animals?
We can fix that.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
Of course when I say ‘we’ I mean Jesus. Did your read the Bible passage above? Jesus said it and He wasn’t just waxing poetic; He was laying down doctrine for believers to learn and employ. There’s no getting around Christ’s instructions to His church; there’s either obedience or disobedience.
But it’s hard!
If you think the Christian walk is hard, you’re not doing it correctly. More accurately, you’re probably walking out your Christian faith in your flesh rather than the Spirit (click on those terms if you’re not familiar with them). Believe it or not, this is a good thing too! It’s good because you just recognized why you can’t forgive Michael Vick and why your walk with Jesus seems difficult at times! Jesus said that His teachings are easy and that the burdens we are to carry are light. Was He lying to us? Of course not! Jesus set into motion a practical way by which the children of God can easily identify a hitch in their giddy-up.
Still not seeing it?
Do you know what that means? Your flesh, or more precisely, your fleshy heart, is hindering you.
Consider this truth:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
The heart, that emotionally driven component of our flesh, is deceptive, but emotions in themselves are not evil. They are the God-given vehicles that bring us to places of decision. Sadness, anger, happiness, they all eventually lead to a choice, but what choice? In the teachings of Jesus, we have been given the right responses for every circumstance, but left to ourselves we have sin. It really is just that simple. The Christian must recognize that only God effectively searches the heart and tests the mind, otherwise our emotional paths will misguide us. Hopefully it’s clear by now: Christian folks who harbor hatred towards Michael Vick are being driven by their emotions rather than Jesus.
But I’m Not a Christian!
Let’s fix that! Hatred and sin eat people alive, and ultimately destroy, but thankfully there is a cure: salvation found in Christ Jesus. God the Father is the Mastermind behind absolute forgiveness! Through His Son Jesus He provided a way by which all humanity can be saved.
Are you human?
Good, than you qualify.
The Bible teaches the following: all mankind has sinned (Romans 3:23) and that sin separates us from God. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God demonstrated His love toward us while we were still sinners, by sending Christ to die and pay the penalty of our sin (Romans 5:8). If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). If you believe by faith, you have been justified through faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1 ). There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
You can pray right now to acknowledge and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The prayer does not save you; Jesus saves you. Believe that by faith.
“God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. With your help, I place my trust in You for salvation. Help me to die to my flesh each day and to walk in Your ways. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”
It’s time to let hatred and unforgiveness go. It has been reported that Michael Vick is a Christian. If this is true (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), then Jesus has already forgiven him, so it’s time you did too. Do you want to know something else? It doesn’t matter if Michael Vick is a Christian or not; our Lord’s directive to the church was to forgive all men, not just Christian men.
Let hatred go
“I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.” Exodus 6:6b-7a
Did you pray to receive Jesus today? Please leave a comment below and let me know. I’d like to help you get moving in the right direction.
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