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?

Pain And Pleasure

Steve Arterburn

 

 

David Sper writes in his book Designed for Desire, ‘The root of all sexual perversions and immorality begins with the desire to relieve one’s pain with pleasure.’ It’s natural for us to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. So when pain doesn’t go away when we try to satisfy our cravings, we seek bigger and bigger pleasures to satisfy them ‘ to override and erase our pain.

Every sin is the result of an appetite going astray and seeking fulfillment in something other than what God intended. First, we experience that something is missing inside. Then we begin seeking ways to compensate for the void. This becomes especially destructive when we try filling an emotional or spiritual void with something physical.

We want to believe the reason our appetites get out of control is that we’re deprived of something we really need. We may say, ‘If I just had enough money to pay my bills, I wouldn’t need to drink like this.’ Or, ‘If I had someone to love me, I wouldn’t need pornography.’ Harry Schaumburg writes, ‘When people seek a taste of heaven by their own means, they create a living hell of uncontrollable desires.’ He’s absolutely right!

Men, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is something you need to learn how to do. The Bible tells us to do it first! Otherwise, you’ll misdiagnose your problem and seek the solution in sin. Learn to direct your temptation to a redemptive end by letting it drive you to Christ.

Savior And Lord

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior makes you a Christian. It’s your access to God and your entrance into the Christian life. But it’s no place to stop. When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord.

 

What’s the difference? Trusting Christ as Savior means you understand that you’re a sinner and deserve death as a result. It means accepting that Jesus made the unique and ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross to take away your sins.

 

Receiving Christ as Lord means you surrender your will, your desires, your plans, and possessions’everything you have’to Him. He gets all of you to do with as He sees fit. It means you hold nothing back from Him. You don’t give Him part of you and horde the rest to do with as you choose.

 

It means you surrender your life to the One who purchased it with His own blood’and in so doing, receive a new life in Christ. True surrender means admitting you can’t handle life without God. You stop pretending to be God, get off the throne of your life, and let God assume His rightful place there. In short, it means joyful obedience. You come to God on His terms, accepting that He is God and that He is likely to use you in ways you never dreamed; but trusting that because He is loving and wise, whatever He wants to do with you will be ultimately for good.