Category: Relationship

Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12) (Part 1)

Scripture:  

Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors” (NIV).

Unforgiveness is the greatest single barrier that exists amongst professing Christians. From Calvary onwards, if there is any barrier between God and men, they are on men’s side and not on God’s side. From the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ all the barriers are down on God’s side. If any there is any kind of barrier on our spiritual progress, something that is holding us back, frustrating us, holding us down, keeping us from the peace, satisfaction, the fulfilment, that we long to have, that the barrier is on men’s side and not on God’s side. The greatest single barrier to in Christians to God’s Peace and Perfect Rest is unforgiveness. 

Forgiveness resulted in reconciliation, peace, harmony, understanding, and fellowship. The world stands in need of these things. The failure to forgive resulted in bitterness, strive, disharmony, hatred, war. These negative feelings can only be dealt with as we learn and apply the Principle of Forgiveness. There are two directions of forgiveness represented in the Bible. These two directions are well portrayed by that great symbol of our Christian faith, the Cross. The Cross has two beams, one vertical and one horizontal. And these two beams represent the two directions of forgiveness:

  • The vertical beam represents the forgiveness that we all need to receive from God through the Lord Jesus Christ as to our Christian Faith.
  • The horizontal beam represents our relationship with our fellow men. It speaks of the forgiveness, which in this case is two ways: the forgiveness we need to receive from others and the forgiveness we need to give to others. Once again, the only place where we can receive the grace for that kind of forgiveness is the Cross.

The Lord’s Prayer – When Jesus commented on the Lord’s Prayer, the only part that He comment on is Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” That is the source of all the problems the Person faces who does not forgive. That Person does not have God’s forgiveness. Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that sinned against us:

The Person cannot ask God for forgiveness if he does not forgive others. The Person is entitled to God’s forgiveness in the same proportion that he forgives others but not more. If that Person does not forgive others their sins, God will not forgive him, his sins.

Matthew 6:13“Deliver us from the evil one.” – The Person has no right to pray that Prayer until the Person confesses, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespasses against us” (Matthew 6:12). Obtain God’s forgiveness settled, then deliverance is not a problem. If the Person is not in a forgiving spirit and attitude towards any Person who has offended him, the Devil has a legal claim against that Person life – If there is any area of unforgiven offend in the Person’s life, that an area to which Satan has a legal claim. The Person cannot get Satan out of that area of his life. If there is anyone whom the Person has not forgiven, in that proportion the Person is not forgiven by God and because the Person is not forgiven in that area, the Devil has a legal claim over that Person life. Therefore, the Person cannot have deliverance until the Person has freely forgiven “ought against any.

Parable of Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:15-35, our Lord Jesus Christ reveals the life of the Church – Right relationship among the Members of the Body of Christ, and with others. He (Jesus) laid down the steps in Restoration:

  • Steps in Restoration of Relationship between Offending Christians (Matthew 18:15-17).
  • Power house of Right Relationship (Matthew 18:18-20).
  • Attitude of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-23).
  • The Parable on Forgiveness (Matthew 18:24-35).

The Comment of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Parable: “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts, forgive not everyone his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35). Our Lord Jesus does not leave it as a Parable, but He (Jesus) applies it specifically to each of us. He warned us of the consequence of unforgiveness. The warning comes from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one was more ready to forgive than our Lord Jesus Christ, but He set certain Principle – “If we want to be forgiven by God, we must forgive others.” Our Lord Jesus warns us of the consequences of failure to forgive:

  • Wickedness (Matthew 18:32) = Unforgiveness is not only sin but Wickedness in God’s Sight.
  • God’s Anger (Matthew 18:34). Unforgiveness provokes God’s Anger, because there is an exact parallel between the Master and the Servant and God and Us.
  • Unforgiveness delivers us to the Tormentors (Matthew 18:34). The torment is in three Areas: Physical, mental, and spiritual. Today, there are multitude of Christians that have been delivered to the Tormentors because they failed to forgive those that have offended them.

When God delivers the unforgiving Christian to the Tormentors. No Pastor can deliver that Person out of the Tormentor. The Person has to meet God’s Condition, that is to forgive before he can be delivered from the hands of the Tormentor. Forgiveness must be from the heart (Matthew 18:35).

To be continued….. Stay tuned.

When A Person Slips and Falls (Job 12:5)

The Scripture

Job 12: 5 “He that is ready to slip with his feet is like a lamp (torch) despised in the thought of him that is at ease.”

How often have the Christians put on their “gossip list” instead of on their prayers list of the Person who has slipped and fallen! How easy for those who are at ease to mouth their glib commonplaces in their still secure and comfortable world! In sheer exasperation Job bewails the whole situation, because of his (Job’s) troubles, a man of godly character (Job 1:1, 8b, 20-22; Job 2:3, 10) is treated like a simpleton or criminal on the basis of a theory that is contradicted by another (equally distressing) fact, namely, that robbers are prospering while he (Job) is reduced to such mockery (Study the Book of Job for this understanding).

Until we suffer, we can never share the pain of the Person who suffers, nor understand the attitude of the scorn with which healthy and comfortable people treat the Sufferer. Job, once the most respected and renowned man of his day (Job 1:3), lamented: “I have become a laughingstock to my friends” (Job 12:4). Job, the Person who is handicapped by lost and adversity, – Job who suffered loss of properties, children and experiencing the physical bodily ailments and mental anguish (Job 1:14-19; Job 2:7-8, 11a, 12a, 13b) is doubly afflicted by this attitude of “a (disaster) is despised in the thought of one who is at ease” (Job 12:5b). People around him (Job) avoided him, talk down to him, and assume his handicap cripples the total Personality (Study the Book of Job, for details).

Torch Discarded – Job laments “He that is ready to slip with his feet” and says: “is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.” The word “lamp” is really “torch.” In the Middle-Eastern Culture, when the Traveller reached his destination after journeying through the darkness of the night, he threw aside the torch that had guided his steps. Job likens himself to the torch. He (Job) had aided his friends and relatives when he was in a position to help, but now that he has lost everything they throw him aside. They make him the subject of mockery – Job 12:4-5 “I am one mocked by his friends,….the just and blameless who is ridiculed. A lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease; it is made ready for those whose feet slips.” People are still doing this, how many times we have known of those who were well-to-do, as far as this world’s goods are concerned, but some calamities intervened, and they lost their means. Some who had appeared to be their friends, suddenly had nothing more to do with them. There are many people in this life who are interested only in what One has, not what one Is. As long as we have things, they are our friends; but when we have little or nothing, we become the object of mockery.

This attitude should never be for the Christians in their relationship with one another. We have a fellowship, a Oneness, that binds us together, making us all One in Christ. The “stronger” is obligated to help the weaker brother. We should gladly help with deeds of kindness one for another, that Christ might be glorified through us. God’s Word states in Galatians 6:10 “As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Christians are to be kind to everyone, but especially to other Christians.

  • Story – A Sergeant in the Army was asked what had led him to become a Christian. He gave the credit to a Private in his Company who had been converted. “We gave that fellow an awful time,” the Sergeant said. “One night he kneeled to pray. My shoes were heavy with mud, and I threw one of them and struck him on his head. The next morning, I found those shoes beautifully cleaned and polished. That was his only reply to me. It broke my heart, and I came to Christ that day,” said the Sergeant. This is what the Lord Jesus desires the Christians to do. Without Christ a man will retaliate and pay back, but if one has really been born again, his attitude will be different said the Sergeant.
  • David L. Mckenna gives a painful description of this fault: “A certain ghoulish glee always attends the downfall of the high and the mighty. Jealous tongues cluck with juicy gossip whenever a great person shows signs of weakness, makes a false move, or experience a failure. Americans, in particular, cannot countenance human weakness in their Leaders. The slightest physical flaw in a President sends the stock market spinning downward and starts the cartoonists’ pencils doodling caricatures that make the person a laughingstock (David L.Mckenna, The Communicator’s Commentary- Job, Word Books, 1986).
  • Unknown Writer – Someone of our day has made a caustic comment: “Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” A lesson we can learn from the Book of Job is how to respond to those who suffer or fall.

People around us are hurting. There are those who feet have slipped on the pathway of life. They do not need others to stand back to criticise and condemn. They need us to stretch out a helping hand, to uplift, to be friends in need. Let us be Encouragers on the road of life, and out prayer be that of Charles Wesley:

Help us to help other, Lord,
Each other’s cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel his brother’s care.

Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love.

Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, lead me today to pray for a friend who is hurting, to speak the word of encouragement to the one whose feet have slipped on the pathway of life.

Personal Relationships (Proverbs Chapter 18: 1,22,24) (Part 2)

True Friend

Proverbs 18:24b (NIV) “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Having seen the “unfriendliness” in Proverbs 18:1 and “over-friendliness” in Proverbs 18:24a, we now have the “just right friendship” in Proverbs 18:24b “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

  • True Friendship is giving of Oneself unreservedly to the interests of Another. It is unrealistic to attempt this to everyone we are on friendly term with.
  • True Friend is brought together by a combination of circumstances and that mysterious chemistry that creates a bond between two Persons which can be closer than the ties of blood and qualify for the name “brother.”

King David’s brothers virtually disowned him, but Jonathan took up his cause. Jesus was rejected by His Jewish Brothers (John 1:11) but John, “the Disciple Jesus loved,” stayed with Him to the end. True Friendship is more than Affability (Friendliness), it is commitmentProverbs 17:17 (NIV) “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Marriage (Greatest Friend)

Proverbs 18:22 (NIV) “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.” Marriage is the ultimate in Friendship, involving as it does a more formal and public expression of total and life-long commitment than that made to “a friend who becomes a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b).

  • Marriage is one of the Bible’s Finest Commendations of a “Excellent Friendship and Companionship.”
  • God Himself gave Adam a Companion for life by presenting Eve to him (Genesis 2:20b-24).
  • The wife (woman) is one of the “good things” that still remain through “favour (gift) from the LORD.” – God knows how much a man needs the support (“help-mate”), care and sympathy of a Companion.
  • God’s Favour (wife) is not a right, but it is a Gift of Grace (Favour) which has to be sought – We have to “find a wife” because not all women are compatible (well-matched) – Proverbs 11:22 (NIV) “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”
  • Prayer, observation and thought have to go into the matter lest it turn out unhappily as in – Proverbs 19:13 (NIV) “A foolish son is his father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.” (Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 25:24; Proverbs 27:15).
  • Husband must show love and tenderness – Colossians 3:19 (NIV) “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Ephesians 5:25-33; 1Peter 3:7).

Personal Relationships (Proverbs Chapter 18: 1,22,24) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Relationship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:

Observation on Personal Relationships:

1. Unfriendliness

Proverbs 18:1 (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgement.” The unfriendly person is “a Loner.” The term “unfriendly” literally means “he who separates himself.” He is Antisocial, he has little time for anyone else because he is “selfish” and pursues “selfish ends,” that is, he has his own ends in view and the company of others interferes with them.

This brings him into conflict with conventional Wisdom – “Sound Judgement” – for in order to justify being different from others he has to criticize and condemn normal thinking and behaviour. The word for “defies” is strong, literally “breaks out,” suggesting that from his ivory tower he issues scornful denunciations of the lives and views of his fellow-citizens. This kind of person is introduced in Proverbs 18:1, as one not to be emulated, for the truth is, not that he is superior to others, but that he cannot form relationships.

2. Over-Friendliness

Proverbs 18:24a (NIV) “A man of many companions may come to ruin.” Proverbs Chapter 18 ended on the subject of Personal Relationships on which it began, but with the complete opposite of the Loner (unfriendly Person – Proverbs 18:1). The meaning of Proverbs 18:24a is a bit obscure but it describes a person who has many Friends, that is, he is a Good Mixer who treats all alike and is “every man’s friend.” There is no depth in relationship.

At first glance, this great Socialiser seems the ideal, yet we are told he “may come to ruin,” because in adversity he had no one to whom he is close enough to command his loyalty, no one such as the part two of Proverbs 18:24b (NIV) “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It is possible to have so many friends that we have no real friends!

To be continued…… Stay Tuned.