Friday, 28 February 2020

Jesus Christ Forgives.

Actually the truth is, it's not always easy to stand up for yourself. Sometimes fear makes us feel that we are doing the wrong thing. But that is not the truth spoken in love. The temptation is to bury pain.

It is not Holy to bury pain.
It leads to sickness and a possible early death from stress.

You see Jesus had a bit to say about “buriers”. He told the apostles to stop it and they freaked out about not having enough faith to do it. That was pretty much my response when God first started showing me this.

 “Who can do that!?”

I'm pretty sure I have a lot more to learn on this. But this is what I have learned so far, from two very similar passages in Matt 18:15-20 and Luke 17:1-10. There are more that speak on this issue, but today I am focusing on these in my writing.

Step 1 Expose.
Evil or sin must be exposed, named and confronted.

So watch yourselves, if you brother sins, rebuke him” Luke 17:3


If your brother sins against you go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” Matt 18:15
The evil must be brought into the light. Satan wants evil and evil intentions to be kept hidden. I've written on this before.


How can evil be fought if it is not brought out into the open? 
How can repentance happen if there is no statement of what is evil? 
How can restitution take place if there is no acknowledgement of a rent in the relationship?

Jesus says I am to have the opportunity to plead my case,
to state my cause,
quietly,
privately.


Buried anger leads me into sin (for me usually bitterness and resentment) and I too then become guilty of sin (Deut 18:20). We are to keep a short account with our families, friends and neighbours. (Eph 4:26,27) We are to keep the communication open, no matter how painful that is, especially to begin with.

This takes time. Not just in the sense of it takes time to learn the technique, but also in a different sense. Good, open communication takes a LOT of time together. Relationships take time. 

The more I see and spend time with someone, the better the relationship. The created order says that the Father is head over his son Jesus Christ, who is head over my husband, who is the head over me- his wife and our family. My husband and I submit to the governing authorities of this world, in their created order. God appoints rulers. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is spoken of well in 1 Corinthians. Those who refuse to acknowledge and obey the created order, do not have the right to rule over those who do.

When I obey the created order, I worship and serve God only, I submit to my husband, I stay home and raise my children, I  submit to the governing authorities that God has put over us and I let God help me balance that out. My main focus is Jesus Christ and what He did for me at the cross. We're to keep our eyes fixed on HIm. God is first.

Now I have to keep this in mind with other scriptures that tell us to submit, as husbands, wives, employees etc. These verses are to complement each other. This has made an interesting change in our marriage. On the one hand I am to lovingly explain to my husband when I feel hurt or upset about something he has done but I am also to let him lead our household, for he is the one accountable to God for the leadership role, not me. I have been given the important role of wife. I am held accountable about that.

So if at this step you have named the sin and gently rebuked the offender, and there is a repentance on their behalf then Jesus says I am to forgive them – to make a conscious decision to let them go of their guilt. Just as I would like to be let go of the guilt of my sin, if the shoe were on the other foot. And if this cycle continues over and over through out the day, I am still to forgive them.

If he listens to you, you have won your brother over” Matt 18:15
and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times comes back to you and says 'I repent', forgive him.” Luke 17:3,4
Now if he ignores my concerns, then Jesus gives me the next step.

Step 2 Witnesses
“But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by two or three witnesses'.” Luke 18:16
This whole step doesn't have to be heavy handed. We have done this by gently asking two people that we respect to 'sit in' on a conversation with us. It can even be done in a light hearted banter manner. The point is that the situation is resolved. This is a good one to especially teach children. That they are to come to an adult when they are unable to easily resolve concerns. The adults works as a mediator between the two. For us adults, the others listening in work as mediators for us.

I think it's a lot harder for us as adults to implement this, well it used to be for me. I'll confess that I used to feel a bit scary about asking a third person to mediate without bias. (The Bible has a lot to say about not being biased when you judge or mediate so there is pressure to do a good job before God - for as you judge others, so you too will be judged). 

I'll be honest. This is not always easy to do. You need to look for witnesses who are worthy of witnessing the situation and mediating. The more complex the matter, the more qualified the witness may need to be. But I have had success in doing this and have had good resolution. In years gone past I would typically baulk at this step of the process - because it would seem to make the situation a lot more serious if I brought in a third person. But, I think that is Jesus' point. It is serious. Resolution and forgiveness is important. Unity is important. I need to put my embarrassment aside here.

This whole step doesn't have to be heavy handed. We have done this by gently asking two people that we respect to 'sit in' on a conversation with us. It can even be done in a light hearted banter manner, where a conversation is just started in front of others and they witness us light heartedly discuss it in front of them unofficially. They may never even be the wiser that they were witnesses. 

The point is that the situation is resolved. This is a good one to especially teach children. That they are to come to an adult when they are unable to easily resolve concerns. The adults works as a mediator between the two. For us adults, the others listening in work as mediators for us.

If there is still no restoration, then Jesus gives us a third step.

Step 3 The Church
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Finally the matter is to be brought before the church. The role of impartial mediator is then to be given to the church. (See 1 Cor 6) I'm assuming here it is the whole church as otherwise I believe Jesus would have used the word “Elders". I have to say, I haven't ever seen this happen. There seems to be more a hiding of sin than an exposing of sin. Many church leaders have divorced in churches we have attended, yet it was all hushed up. It took months for even pieces of truth to emerge. 

Why do we believe to talk about it in a public forum is wrong, when we say we believe Scripture and follow Jesus? 

Are we afraid of the shame? 
The shame of exposure? 

Maybe this is important, for the shame in itself might keep some from continuing in their sin as Paul writes about in 1 Cor 5: 9-13.

I do not have all the answers. Yet I do know this. God hates sin. It cost him his Son. Although the recipe seems extreme, this is what He has told us to do. Please help us Father to understand this and apply this gently and lovingly. To uphold the weightier matters of the law Justice, mercy, faith and love.

The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our Faith!' Luke 17:5
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Jesus Christ cried out from the cross. " 
Love never fails.




















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