Final week of the study – time to learn how to overcome the past!
The first thing we need to decide is whether we really want to get well and make things better.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 4 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. John 5:1-9 (ESV)
Why do you think that Jesus asked the man whether he wanted to be healed?
Sometimes I really don’t want to be “healed” when I think about forgiving someone. It’s human nature to want to remember an injury, to mull it over and justify our part in the problem, to make ourselves feel “bigger” or “better”. Human nature isn’t God’s nature. When Jesus asks us if we want to be healed of our past pain by forgiving the ones who have hurt us, we should answer with a resounding “yes”.
Once we’ve made the decision to get well, we must choose to do what we need to – on God’s terms. We need to honestly choose to forgive!
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31-32 (ESV)
The commands are simple. Stop all bitterness, anger, fighting, gossiping and malice. Be kind and compassionate – forgive – as I have been forgiven through Jesus Christ.
Once I have stopped being bitter and malicious toward you, I begin to operate compassionately. Once my compassion kicks in, I am in a position to forgive you. So the choice I must make if I want to be truly healed and free of an unforgiving spirit is to stop being bitter!
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Heb 12:15 (ESV)
When I started this study, I didn’t think that bitterness was such a big part of the problem, but now I can see it. How about you?
Who do you need to choose to become “unbitter” towards? Who am I speaking ill of? Who do we need to stop fighting with and start praying for?
I can see a few areas that need attention. I hope you can, too.
See you Wednesday! Hope you are enjoying this study as well as the Read Through The Bible Challenge (readthroughthebible.blogspot.com).