I knew an evangelist who was checking into a motel, bone tired and anticipating a week of services. As he walked down the hall to his room, he had an urge to go back and talk to the man at the desk. He thought, “I am always wanting to talk to everyone and this would make me even more tired. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”
He did not sleep well. The next morning he went to the desk to ask when the worker from the previous evening would be on. The man replied, “Why?”
“I’m an evangelist and I just wanted to talk to him about eternal life.”
“Too late,” was the reply, “he killed himself last night.”
Another evangelist was running late on the first night of a campaign and decided to wait till the next evening to have an altar call and invite people to repent and find salvation. That night Chicago burned to the ground. 300 people died and the campaign had to stop.
A young man I knew talked his girlfriend into using drugs along with him. He then found salvation in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to give up his drugs. She, however, went on to die of an overdose.
They all went on to accept the forgiveness of God and to listen far more attentively to the Spirit. They came back to the now, learning by God’s grace, to grab the present encounter. So often, we trash today because we trashed yesterday, which excuses trashing tomorrow. Today is the accepted time. God loves to restore the years that the locust has eaten.
Why, when we need forgiveness so much, do we resist it so strongly?
We are not even sure we will accept a God who would forgive someone as bad as we are!
You’ll have to examine yourself; are you resting in the forgiveness of God? Do you feel and act clean and pure and worthy because he has taken upon himself all-all-all your sins?
Perhaps you are afraid that:
- If I accept forgiveness for the full debt that I owe, I lose all rights. All “right” to bitterness or blame and have to accept God’s right to forgive my enemies. See Jonah.
- If I accept forgiveness, I owe God big time and no longer have any basis for justifying my rights, owning my time, judging others, feeling superior, feeling sorry for myself, etc.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6:20
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. I Corinthians 7:23
- If I accept forgiveness, I lose the rationale behind not serving in the kingdom. I am faced with the reality that no one is worthy to serve and, since I can see that I am the least worthy, that makes me “much more necessary.” So when God calls — I should go!
And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore GO, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.Exodus 4:10-11
It is especially difficult if the person I have hurt is still responding to my actions with bitterness. Still, the choice remains the same,
- to wallow in self-contempt and cause even more damage to those around me,
- or to accept the forgiveness and reach out to those God places in my life letting God bless them through my yielded self.
God knows that for me to be fully healed, I need to build what I have torn down and he loves to help me do this.