Obstacles To Forgiveness

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Pastor Walter Everett’s twenty-three-year-old son was shot to death in cold blood. After the killer was behind bars, the pastor had a large, impossible task before him’namely, forgiving the person who so callously cut short his son’s life, and tore the pastor’s heart to shreds in the process.

In the court case that followed, the murderer told the judge and those assembled in the courtroom he was sorry, but his voice and manner seemed insincere to all who heard him. This made forgiveness even more difficult for the grieving pastor.

It’s always difficult to give even an inch of grace to someone whose actions have brought enduring pain into your life. It’s especially difficult when the person doesn’t sincerely exhibit sorrow, repentance, and remorse.

But Pastor Everett knew forgiveness wasn’t an option. Eventually, in an act that amounted to nothing short of sheer determination and stubborn obedience, he composed a letter of forgiveness to the killer.

The pastor later learned that the young man, after reading the letter, had fallen to his knees. Sobbing beside his prison bunk, the killer asked Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his heart.

When Pastor Everett mailed his letter he had no idea what the result of his obedience would be. And neither do any of us. Pastor Everett had plenty of so-called ‘good’ reasons not to forgive his son’s killer. But he knew that none of them were quite good enough.

Men, who do you need to forgive?

Know Your Weaknesses

Steve Arterburn

 

 

We all have inherent weaknesses that make us vulnerable to particular kinds of sin, don’t we? That means something that’s a snare for one man may be completely harmless for another. But one thing we all have in common is that we each must accept responsibility for ourselves. That means you need to guard against anything that exploits our weaknesses and provides a situation where it will be easy for you to stumble into sin. 

 

It’s a mistake to think that temptation only exists outside of us. Problems happen when things outside of us stir up and stimulate dispositions already resident within us. James 1:14-16 says, ‘Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled.’

 

Men, part of taking responsibility for your own sinful desires means you need to identify and avoid locations, situations, or people that trigger temptation. It’s not always easy. Often such things seem innocent enough, and sometimes they’re things in which we find comfort’or escape.

 

But as difficult as this may be, it’s essential that you know yourself and your weaknesses well enough to know what is dangerous, what is harmful, and what is simply a waste of your time and energy. You’ll avoid a lot of grief and pain simply by avoiding those things that provide the opportunity and occasion to stumble.

Help Him Be That Man

Steve Arterburn

 

 

A man once said to D. L. Moody, ‘The world hasn’t yet seen what God can do with a man fully devoted to Him.’ Moody responded, ‘I’m that man!’ One of the differences between Moody’s generation and young men today is that sexual temptations are much more intense now than they were then.

Dads, what if your son were kept free from this draining struggle in the first place? What if his spiritual energy could be spent on God’s call and His Kingdom?

It can be done. Our generation hasn’t seen what God can do with an army of young men free from the burden of sexual temptation and sin. Have you worked hard enough to keep your son pure so that he might qualify for such an army in such a time as this? Can you yourself answer as D. L. Moody did when he said, ‘I’m that man!’

When your son questions what he should watch, how he should respond to the pornography surrounding him, and why he shouldn’t accept the opportunities he’ll have to experiment sexually during his teenage years, will you be there to give him the guidance he desperately needs? It won’t come from his classmates!

Dad, make your voice loud and crystal clear because it’ll likely be the only one which says, ‘Flee immorality, my son.’ And make sure your example matches your message. Stand in the gap, and help your son be God’s man.