I don’t know anyone who hasn’t struggled at some point with the pain and hurt in their life. We’ve all been hurt, and for followers of Jesus Christ we all have to learn how to deal with it in the way God has given us.
The problem is, what comes much more naturally to most of us is to hold on the pain and hurt of life.
We start to dwell in it. We feed it, coddle it, keep it alive, and cause it to grow. As a friend of mine says – “we take it out and pet it”. And when we do those things, it can easily get out of control and begin to define our life. We can become “addicted” to holding on to our pain, our anger, and our unforgiveness. It begins to define everything about us. And that leads to bitterness.
Hebrews 12:15b … Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness become a cancer to us. A poison. It will eventually destroy us – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Learning to deal with the hurt in our life God’s way is critical to our spiritual life and our relationship with God.
Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.
JESUS LIVING EXAMPLE
In the last study, we looked at some of the things Jesus taught about forgiveness. But He did much more than that. He lived it out, and gave us an example to follow.
Jesus was completely INNOCENT. He lived a perfect and sinless life. He was unfairly accused, treated unjustly, and tortured. The people there mocked Him, ridiculed Him, and spit on Him. They pulled out His beard by handfuls. They pounded a crown made of thorns into His head. The Roman soldiers beat Him with a scourge, tearing His flesh producing unimaginable pain. The religious leaders and many others called for His execution. They nailed Him to a cross to hang until He was dead. And He was COMPLETELY INNOCENT.
Jesus was fully God, and we shouldn’t ever lose sight of the power He commanded. Jesus could have rained down fire from heaven at any time… but He didn’t. He could have had the earth swallow them up… but He didn’t. He could have spoken a single word, and they all would have fallen over dead… but he didn’t. He could have just stepped down from the cross at any time and said “forget it, they aren’t worth it”… but He didn’t. He could have just vanished, and returned to heaven, leaving us without hope… but He didn’t.
When Jesus hung on the cross, He willingly accepted the fullness of God’s wrath against sin. The wrath that I deserve, and the wrath that you deserve. That had to happen so the debt for OUR sin could be paid in full. The sentence was served and justice was fully satisfied.
As Jesus hung on the cross, humiliated, beaten and bloody… He chose that exact moment to do something no ordinary person would have EVER considered doing… and we look at that in the next post.
Note: Click on the link for the “speaker’s notes” version of the Forgiveness – Following Jesus study. Feel free to use, copy, and distribute as God leads.