Passage for Study: Acts 15: 35 - 41 … Acts 15 linked for your study …
My Journal for Today: My devotional yesterday focused, as does the repeated passage today, on the contention which caused Paul and Barnabas to part ways. Obviously there were some bad feelings between the younger John Mark and Paul; but down the road of their independent lives, we saw that this riff, which had caused the separation was repaired – likely by Paul’s maturation as a disciple and his willingness to forgive the younger disciple, Mark. We referred yesterday to the fact that Paul was able to later commend Mark for his work for the Lord (again one can read this in Col. 4: 10-11 and 2nd Tim. 4: 11).
Holding on to one’s anger and letting it develop into a grudge or bitterness is, as I said yesterday, giving power to the enemy to poison our hearts and weaken our witness for the Lord. Oh how our spiritual enemy, Satan, loves to pour his fuel of discontent on the fires of anger or bitterness; and we become the victims of our own anger or prideful ill feelings. And that’s what it really is, my dear one, … isn’t it? It’s pride which causes us to hold a grudge or withhold forgiveness.
Jesus told His disciples to do as He did [again Luke 9: 23]. Paul wrote (in Phil. 2: 5) to have the same attitude as Christ. Well, Jesus himself said [read it in Matt. 11: 29] that his attitude was one of humility and meekness; and one can’t be humble and meek and hold a grudge. So, my friend [s] we need to do a self inventory. Do we have any – and I mean ANY – wounds or past riffs in our lives which have caused us to retain a prideful – AND SINFUL – attitude of bitterness toward another? If so, we’re giving Satan a beachhead of retained sin in our lives. We’re giving our enemy the license to weaken our witness or ministry for the Lord; because we cannot be living sacrifices for Christ (see Romans 12: 1 – 2) if we have forgiveness which we’re withholding from someone in our lives.
But you may say, “Bill, you just don’t know how much they hurt me and did me wrong.” And you’re right, I don’t. But was Jesus wrong when He said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” My friend, if we want to be free from the burdens of unresolved sin because of unresolved forgiveness, we simply MUST take those wounds to the cross and turn them over to Jesus (as He commended us in Matt. 11: 28 – 30 or in Matt. 5: 23 – 24).
No, my friend, I’m not saying that we condone what was done to us to cause these wounds or ill feelings; but I am saying that we release those ill feelings to the Lord; and let Him deal with the judging. You know it as well as I do, judgment is not our business; it’s God’s. And until we let God be God in the matter of forgiveness and let His blood heal our hurts, through forgiveness, we’re going to be carrying around a burden of sin which weighs us down for as long as we carry it.
Let it go, my friend!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for helping me to let all those past wounds be healed by the salve of forgiveness and your grace being poured on me to release me from ill feelings. Amen