The Dirty Secret of Unforgiveness
Posted by matreames
Jesus is pretty clear about his stance on forgiveness. He died on a cross to forgive the whole of the world. He even made forgiveness the pinnacle point of the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6 he tells us that We should forgive so our father will forgive us. Then he continues with the inverse. If we fail to forgive then God will not forgive us. This is a serious charge. We should really make sure we are getting this right in our own heart.
Yet we as a society, yes even Christians, are very quick to harbor unforgiveness. Here is an example I run into fairly often thanks to the wonders of social media. Michael Vick. Michael is a professional football player. 7 years ago He was charged with a serious crime, It was about a ring of dog fights. There was a serious amount of animal cruelty. In 2007 he was charged, and He plead guilty. He admitted His crime.
What happened next was interesting. Vick was sentenced to serve his sentence in Leavenworth Federal Prison. (This prison was almost chosen to replace Guantanamo Bay) So to say he did ‘Hard Time’ is not a pun, but truth. In the midst of this incarceration he was mentored by Coach Tony Dungy who is an outspoken Christian. It was during this time that Michael Vick made a confession of Faith in Jesus Christ. He publicly repented to both God and man for his crime and is very open about how terrible he was and his regret.
Following His release from prison He was allowed to return to the NFL under probationary terms which required him to continue being mentored by Coach Dungy. The Philadelphia Eagles (My Team) picked him up as a free agent. I was happy about this because I love seeinf reconciliation and restoration. I found it amusing that the Eagles chose him. (The Eagle is a biblical symbol of restoration Isaiah 40:31)
Truth be told, as a player he wasn’t a great fit for the team. I was not shedding tears this year as he was released. However in his time here, He showed strong leadership, and a serious character change. So to cut this story short, He did everything he could to move to restoration, reconciliation, and repentance.
Now by my understanding of Scripture, If he has repented to God, then God has given him unconditional forgiveness. Therefore, we as God’s ambassadors on the earth should extend the same forgiveness. However this has not been the case. We as a community have offered no forgiveness. Instead we love to bring up his past and hold it against him. We protest everything he does and everything he says. We scrutinize his life just waiting for him to make a minuscule mistake so we can be affirmed in our judgment.
It’s sickening and its the opposite of Christ. Instead of being the accusers we should be the first ones lending a hand and helping our brother grow and change. Instead we accuse, we protest, and we publicly defame. We act as though we are better because our sins aren’t public.
I assure you, you are no better than Michael Vick. I may not have done what he did, but I have just as much crimson in my life. If Vick and I stand before God together nether one of us is going to be able to stand on our own measure. But by the blood of Christ we are forgiven.
So what am I saying? Am I telling you to go out and support everything he does? No. However I am asking you to let go of His past Michael Vick has, and he has moved on into the grace of God well. By continually bringing up his sin, it doesn’t make him look bad. It makes us look bad.
We need to be the model of forgiveness and not the model of accusation. Too often we are ready with the accusing. The thing is that While Christ is the redeemer. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. It is Satan who likes to remind us of our past and tries to condemn. You are siding with Satan every time you are quick to remind the world of someone’s sin. You are siding with Satan when instead of moving toward reconciliation you cling to an offense.
Public shaming has never been an aspect of our faith. Ham was condemned for shaming his father instead of covering him. Are you like ham? Are you quick to point out the sins of others instead of covering them and helping them out of their sin? Jesus was not. When Jesus saw a mob ready to stone a woman caught in adultery, He offered forgiveness and freedom.
Be like Jesus. Offer forgiveness. Instead of being quick to shame. Let, as the bible says, “Him who has been forgiven much also love much.” Please be the image of Christ and the image of reconciliation which is the Ministry we have received from Jesus. 2nd Corinthians 5 says that it means NOT holdingthe sins of the world against them. Let go of their sins, in fact, let go of your own. Let’s be quick to repent, and quick to forgive.
I know it is hard, but it is the model that Jesus walks in and it is the model we are to walk in. We are quick to walk more in the model of Satan and instead of listening and forgiving we accusing and ignore. Be on the look out for some more character posts like this in the coming days. I feel it is a major issue in the church. Next on the agenda is addressing the comments of Dan Haseltine, and the reaction of the church.