My Dad’s Death, my Medical challenges and physical injuries... between my personal grief, and physical pain...it was tough to be transparent, and still is.
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2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Unforgiveness can keep us from experiencing the meaning of Christmas.
Unforgiveness can genuinely keep us from experiencing what Christmas is meant to be.
It is amazing how the truths of our Biblical Christmas are depicted in films and Television specials. For this series of Fit.Church Sunday messages, each entry will have a scene from one of our favorite films and complete the statement, “Christmas Is a Time to…”. My desire is for this to be insightful, meaningful, and even a little fun.
In some circumstances, forgiveness can bring reconciliation. This is the area on which our video touches today. The video below is from one of my favorite Christmas films because I laugh through out the film, but in the middle of this story of a young boy who is accidently left home alone, is a picture of reconciliation. Enjoy the video below, and then if there is some family member or friend that you are estranged from and you realize that reconciliation is completely possible. Pick up the phone and make a call!
The clip today is from a 1990 film and has become a family favorite around the holidays. But what we view this morning is but a small sideline in the overall story of the film. An elderly gentleman who lives in Kevin’s neighborhood has always been terrifying to Kevin, but Kevin actually helps Marley. You see…
Forgiveness is a tragic topic. Some need to experience the freedom of forgiveness. Whether we need someone else to forgive us or we need to forgive another, both are essential for health.
As a Christian, I know the Bible commands us to forgive others and to seek forgiveness when we have wronged another. It is natural for us to respond to injury with anger and self-interest, but it is not healthy for us to maintain those emotions for an extended period of time. Left to fester for an extended period of time anger turns to rage, bitterness and resentment.
This short message isn’t intended to answer all the why’s, how’s and when’s of forgiveness. Volumes have been written regarding this subject, and debates have raged answering such.
Before presenting the focus of this message, I encourage those of you who have experienced circumstances that have brought about anger, resentment, and even rage to find someone to talk to about it. Whether a good friend, a pastor or priest, or a professional therapist; another to guide us on this journey is extremely beneficial.
The focus of this message is the hard work it takes to hang on to bitterness and rage. While I know about the pain of working to forgive, I also have personally experienced the freedom that comes with forgiveness. There are a plethora of articles and books one can read to discover your path forward, but the holiday season is one of the most difficult times of year for us to experience when we have not forgiven.
Forgiveness does not instantly restore trust. Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened. Forgiveness does not remove consequences. It does not restore the relationship nor does it excuse the wrongdoing. Forgiveness is not the ending of pain.
In some circumstances, forgiveness can bring reconciliation. Living in forgiveness can bring a true sense of emotional health to your life.
1I love you, lord;
you are my strength.
2The lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
3I called on the lord, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.
THE WORDS or story of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: Now in the month of Chislev in the twentieth year [of the Persian king], as I was in the castle of Shushan, Hanani, one of my kinsmen, came with certain men from Judah, and I asked them about the surviving Jews who had escaped exile, and about Jerusalem.
And they said to me, The remnant there in the province who escaped exile are in great trouble and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its [fortified] gates are destroyed by fire.
When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven
THE WORDS or story of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: Now in the month of Chislev in the twentieth year [of the Persian king], as I was in the castle of Shushan, Hanani, one of my kinsmen, came with certain men from Judah, and I asked them about the surviving Jews who had escaped exile, and about Jerusalem. And they said to me, The remnant there in the province who escaped exile are in great trouble and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its [fortified] gates are destroyed by fire. When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven, Nehemiah 1:1-4
1. Don’t’ Dwell in the Past!
Many of us just pitch a tent and live right there in the midst of our pain. Realize that running for our past can be destructive to our present.
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
2. Receive God’s Forgiveness.
We simply need to concentrate on receiving God’s forgiveness. It may start where we don’t feel forgiven. If that is the case then read Hebrews 8:12 and pray sharing with God that you don’t feel it but that by faith you are standing on the promise given in this verse. Do it everyday until you begin to feel forgiven.
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”
3. Recognize Your Need for Others
We need people. God never intended us to make it through this world alone. One of our greatest mistakes is to isolate ourselves or to hide our pain from one another.
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
4. Face the Pain
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.