By Geoff Thompson
To be delivered at Parkrose Village Service on Sunday 22/10/11
These last few days I have been pretty much incapacitated with a very knotted up back.
Only now as I write this is it starting to free up a little.
Consequently I haven’t been able to do too much but I have watched a couple of movies on my computer.
One was about 4 Photographers in South Africa who documented the atrocities of things hapenning in South Africa up to the change in that Govt’s policy on Apartheid
ie. The discrimination against black people in that country.
The movie was pretty horrible and these photographers seemed driven by different forces.
One force was to expose the atrocities to bring about change
and the other seemed linked to their own needs for adventure and danger and winning awards for their work.
Indeed one of them, not long after he won a pullitzer prize for his depiction of a young starving girl in Sudan kneeling in the sand with a vulture threateningly waiting in the background , committed suicide from a build up of the many times he had witnessed man’s inhumanity to man.
This movie and others I watched led me to again thinking about the need we have to forgive.
Just this week we have once again seen the terrible scenes on television which brought about the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi.
Only a few months ago it was Osama Bin Laden who had been executed without any sort of trial.
These men committed horrible atrocities in their lifetimes and we all would look at their lives and say “how could they have done that? , we could never behave like that.”
And yet consider the following devotional piece: It’s called
“How Good are you?”
“Don’t feel satisfied
With the apparently good life
You are living,or
ever feel superior to someone
not doing as well as you are
in the business of living.
who knows more about
the human heart
than anyone else says
there is nothing good in you.
You are capable of doing
the same things you see anyone else doing.
The reason you don’t do what some others do
is because there have been all sorts of safeguards round you that have kept you from doing what they do.
Remove those safeguards
And you can do
What anyone else has done.
“ for from within,
out of the heart….”
It is all there,
All the evil
This world has ever known
In the hearts of men.
And, we are men(and women)
If you are not doing the evil of other men,
You will be wise to recognise
You are being saved
By THE GRACE OF GOD.”
So we say to ourselves
“I could never forgive that person, look at what they did to me.
I am now in such a mess because of what they did!”
It is true they may have done something terrible but Jesus does not ask us to forgive with out good cause for these reasons;
(1) He will always gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to forgive someone unconditionally if we will to do so.
(2) He does not say we should forgive because what that person did was of no consequence, but; because we are just as capable of doing the same to someone else during similar circumstances. That’s why he went to the Cross for all mankind.
(3) He knows, and as His command for us is to forgive, that if we don’t forgive we will never know the joy of the Lord.
As in Matthew 18:32-35 we are going to be bound in our own prison of bitterness for the rest of our lives if we refuse to forgive.
V35” This is how my Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from the Heart”
Our prayers are not going to get too far while we harbour bitterness.
Well you might say but I just cannot forgive it was too bad, too cruel!
well consider this example.
Also this week I have been listening again to Dr Helen Roseveare tell her story of life as a missionary doctor in the Belgian Congo during the civil war that erupted there in the 1950’s.
She tells how many of her colleagues were put to death and also raped.
She was captured and raped.
During this ordeal she prayed to God and asked why He was expecting her to go through this.
She got an answer that enabled her too deal with it and even forgive.
She says the Lord Jesus made it clear to her that He was thanking her for allowing Him the privilege to use Her body to work out His Grace in the situation.
Not to be thankful for what was happening to her but that Jesus had entrusted her with this experience.
It wasn’t until sometime later talking in a Christian convention for women that she learned why He had allowed this to happen to her.
There was a young attractive women sitting in the audience whose face was blank of expression and life during the whole talk.
Afterwards she found out that this young woman had not talked anyone for 2 months and was in a state of shock.She had shown no emotion in that time.
She too had suffered rape.
But this young woman was able to come forward and embrace Dr Helen as the words and experience of Dr Helen who had been through a similar ordeal was able to set her free from the bondage she was in.
God does not give our need to forgive others as an optional extra.
We have read in the Lord’s prayer and prayed it many times.
“ forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who have trespassed against us.”
Do we really want God to forgive us how we forgive others?
If you need help in knowing how to forgive someone from the heart, whether they be dead or still living ask someone such as one of your Chaplains or a Christian who you consider to be mature in their Faith to help you to do that.
I will finish off today with some of the wonderful words from the other Lord’s Prayer found in John 17 v 24-26
It is part of Jesus prayer for us and on that continues for us as He intercedes
New Living Translation (NLT)
24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
Today's Bible Reading
9 Pray like this:
New Living Translation (NLT)
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
but rescue us from the evil one.[c]
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.