Posted by: forfreedomalone | 19/07/2016

Setting me free.

You may have noticed that we are ‘trapped’ within time on this planet.
Time is a major topic of conversation. We never have enough, it goes by too quickly, or, if we are children, it goes by too slowly 🙂
But, no matter how much of it we have or what speed it passes one thing it causes is, sequetial action.
One thing has to happen before the next thing can happen.
End results do not occur at the same moment as initation.
In some situations it doesn’t matter to us how something came about we only need to accept the end result, but in other cases understand HOW something happens can be very important to us. Each step has power of its own when we understand what that step is.
Jesus said, in Luke 17:3, that if your brother sins you should rebuke him and if he repents you should forgive him. That seems fairly straight forward.
He sins, you rebuke him, he repents, you forgive him.
One step after the other.
So why does he start this teaching with “Take heed to yourselves,”?
What is happening in these sequential actions that need him to tell me to take heed to myself, before my brother has even sinned against me?
I use this analogy to explain this.
Imagine you and I were children who were playing together. We are playing with bows and arrows and I shoot you with an arrow.
You would be in terrible pain and you would run home to your Mum.
This section of our story would equate to me (your brother) sinning against you.
Having gone home you may be told never to play with me again and so you go through your life avoiding me.
However, one day, many years later, we meet up.
You have spent years in great pain and suffering from this arrowhead in your arm. It is infected and gangerous. Your very life is in danger from the poison.
For many years you have blamed me for all your suffering and you are quite right, it was what I did which caused you all that pain. However, you have held on to that arrowhead.
If you had removed that thing right at the moment when it entered your arm, you would have healed years ago. You would have been free from all that suffering and you, may, have been able to instruct me in more responsibile behaviour, as you would not have had anger and pain burning in you towards me.
Jesus is telling his listeners, if your brother sins against you, do not, for one moment think that you will escape the pain and suffering of his sin if you are holding on to that offense he caused you.
To forgive means, “to send away”. The one who forgives is not the one who caused the offense, it is the one who took offense.
As one step in a set of sequential actions forgiving affects the offended alone.
It sets them free from pain and suffering caused by the arrowhead (offense) they have embedded within them.
Forgiving is the step which keeps our hearts clean and free. It keeps us unbound to others and allows us to then bestow mercy on the offender. It does not change the life of the offender, per sae.
It may be that having wounded you, when we were children, we never see one another again. Refusing to forgive me, refusing to remove the arrowhead and get rid of it, won’t change my life one iota. But it will ruin yours.
Mercy, which means, to treat better than deserved, cannot be offered when you are in pain and suffering. You are not going to treat me with courtesy and kindness so long as you are in such pain. I think we can all relate to that. How often have we been ill or hurt from an injury and bitten someone’s head off when they talk to us? I know I have. It is not intentional, but simply a reaction to great pain.
In order to show mercy to anyone we have to first be healed of the wound they inflicted upon us. We have to forgive; send away the offense; and be healed. THEN we are free to be merciful.
This is what God has done with us. He forgave us…sent away all the offenses we cause him….and then showed us great mercy.
Too many people see forgiving as letting the offender off the hook or it being tantamount to saying “It doesn’t matter”. Yes, it most certainly does matter and, no, they are not off the hook. You are.
Forgiving yoru brother’s sins against you is an act of self love. It is releasing YOU, not him.
Jesus did not want his disciples suffering in the long term from what someone else had done to them and so he was very clear about the power of forgiving.
In the realm of eternity everything is happening at once, as there is no time for things to be sequenced in. When we received from Jesus on being born again we got the whole lt, all dumped on us at one go. Everything he has, we have.
But as it was dumped out of eternity into time, we have to unravel it one item at a time.
Step one……forgive. Send away every offense you have received and you will be free to show mercy (step 2), but YOU will also be set free from the pain they caused you in the first place.

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