Saturday, October 15, 2011

Are You Harsh? Are You Hurt? Have you let kudzu take over your life?

Kudzoo. Is that how you spell it? Maybe it’s “kudzu.” It’s the stuff that is growing in Mississippi that they can’t seem to kill. You know what I’m talking about? That green viny plant that is growing everywhere. It started out as a pretty, little, green vine, and it actually had a purpose. They used it to prevent soil erosion. The corp used to plant it everywhere until they realized what we now know today. Supposedly kudzu can grow about a foot a day during the season, and possibly up to 60 feet in a year. It can climb on anything, over anything, and overtake anything that isn’t moving. The problem…they can’t kill it. It takes root and spreads and spreads and spreads. One suggested apply herbicide for four years in order to kill it. I’ve heard there is a recommendation to buy goats and let them eat it till it’s gone. Some so pretty, lush and green started with a simple idea of preventing soil erosion and now the state is so overrun with it they are looking for ways to get rid of it.

Isn’t that just like sin? It may not start off looking like sin because it has some part of truth mixed in it, but it is sin. If it isn’t 100% truth, then it’s not the truth. We let sin take root in one area of our life. It doesn’t just stay in that area. NOOOOOO! It has to start covering other areas climbing onto anything and everything. It is one of the hardest things to get rid of in your life too.

I can’t tell you how many women in the Bible study have said, “I really don’t have a problem forgiving people.” That may be true, but are they walking around hurt by what someone is doing to them or has done to them? There are some women who have said, “How am I supposed to forgive someone who keeps doing wrongdoing?” I’ve also heard, “How am I supposed to forgive someone who is dead?” Then there are those who are struggling with truly forgiving someone because they think that by forgiving them she is saying, “It’s okay that you hurt me.” Forgiveness isn’t about saying, “It’s okay,” because it isn’t. Failure to forgive is a sin of rebellion. The act of forgiving is not about the offender. It is about the offended releasing the control the offender has over her.

Failure to forgive turns into bitterness, resentment, harshness. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells the parable about the king pardoning the man who owed more money to the king than he could ever repay in his lifetime. After receiving the pardon, the man goes out and finds another man who owes him money, grabs him and tells him to pay up. The king hears about this, and the grace he had extended is revoked. The man is thrown into prison to be tormented. “When we refuse to forgive, we set ourselves up to be turned over to ‘tormentors’.” (65) Refusing to forgive, gives Satan a foothold into your life. Torment can come to a Christian in the form of “chronic mental, emotional, and physical disorders” (65). This is not to say that all of those disorders are rooted in unforgiveness. It just means that for a Christian these are possible ways Satan can torment us.

Think about these things:

1. Matthew 18:35, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

2. “What if God only forgave me to the extent that I’ve been willing to forgive those who’ve sinned against me?”(68)

3. “When we refuse to forgive, something is blocked in our relationship with the Father.” (69)

4. “Bitterness grows in us when we fail to see the trouble and pain in our lives from God’s point of view, and when our expectations of what life should be diverge from the reality of what life really is.” (73)

Those are some statements that can walk all over a person.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes, “When we get hurt, no matter how serious the offense or how deep the wound, God has grace available to help us deal with the offense and forgive the offender. At that point, we have one of two choices: We can acknowledge our need and humbly reach out to Him for His grace to forgive and release the offender. Or we can resist Him, fail to receive His grace, and hold on to the hurt” (76). I know people who have chosen the latter. They are bitter, negative, harsh, and offensive repelling people who love them the most. All because they held onto hurt and failed to forgive – allowing sin to take root and spread like kudzu.

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