Peace on Earth II
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

 

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” – God speaking: The Sermon on the Mount

 

                How would you like to have the most joy filled Christmas you have ever experienced – one that truly reflects the “peace on earth and good will towards men?”  It is possible you know.  God has shown us how.  Remember in my last letter to you, I said that peace, the kind of peace that Scripture speaks of, comes with a radical change of heart.  And only Christ can radically change our hearts.  Well, therein lays the answer to having the most joyful Christmas you have ever had.

 

                One thing we know for sure – with absolute certainty.  Peace on earth is impossible, if I am not at peace.  Universal peace is only possible when universal hearts are at peace with God and with fellow man.  So if I am not at peace with God and my fellowman, then universal peace will not – cannot – happen.  So having a peaceful Christmas must begin with me (and you).  As far as it is up to us, we must live at peace with everyone.  But we cannot do that without a radical change of heart.  And we cannot have a radical change of heart without Christ.  And we cannot have Christ, if we refuse His teachings.  And principle among His teachings is forgiveness.  To attain forgiveness from God that gives us an overwhelming peace, we must begin by offering up forgiveness of those who have wronged us; those whom we think have wronged us; and those who think differently than ourselves.

 

                You see, a radical change of heart, cannot occur in a bitter heart.  It cannot occur in a heart that is not right with God.  It cannot occur in a heart that is not right with our fellow humans.   Peace cannot live in a bitter heart.  Peace cannot live in a heart that is angry with God, disagrees with God, resents God, and cries out against God.  And peace cannot live in a heart that holds a grudge against someone.  And for that reason, Christ taught about the importance of forgiveness.  His forgiveness of us (which is incomprehensible) has been taken care of on the cross.  However, we have a role to play as well.  In the Lord’s Prayer – the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray – He tells us to ask for forgiveness from God in the same measure we give it out to our fellow humans.  But He doesn’t stop there.

 

                In the only part of the Lord’s prayer He immediately adds emphasis to, He said, “If you forgive your brother his sins against you, your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins.  But, if you do not forgive your brother, neither will your Father forgive you.” (paraphrase of Mt. 6:14)  And what Jesus is saying and what I have tried to emphasize is that bitterness and peace cannot live in the same heart.  And a heart filled with bitterness cannot even accept God’s forgiveness.  Bitterness changes perspective.  Bitterness makes a heart grow cold.  Bitterness begins to erode the love a peaceful heart has for God.  And ultimately, when bitterness wins the battle for the heart, rejection of God will transpire.  And a heart that rejects God is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which Jesus calls the unforgiveable sin.

                 Now if you are bitter for what someone has done to you (or not done for you), as Glenn Beck says, “How is that working out for you?”  Do you have a pristine relationship with God?  Are you excited each day about coming before Him in prayer and thanksgiving?  Do you rejoice in His word?  Is going to church each Sunday the pinnacle of your week?  I can tell you if you are bitter, the answer to those questions is a resounding “no.”  That is because bitterness and peace cannot dwell in the same heart.  So you see, peace on earth must begin with our forgiveness of our fellow humans.  If you want to have a joy filled Christmas, begin today with “project forgiveness.”  Call, write, or email that person with whom you hold a grudge.  You don’t have to become their best friend (but you may be surprised what happens), but you cannot have peace until you forgive them.  That means the “gig is up.”  You no longer want any harm, retribution, or sadness to come into that person’s life.  You change from anger against them to praying for them.  Forgiveness must be real.  Express that to them and then live it out.  And I promise you, that “peace which surpasses all understanding” will begin to melt away the ice in your heart and the joy will return.  And who knows, that might escalate to “peace on earth.”

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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