Repost: The cross bids me come and die…and find I may truly live

photo by Michael Wray

photo by Michael Wray

I would normally add commentary but with a photo this wonderful, this beautiful – only Scripture will do.  So I add these inspired words for your contemplation:

“It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:13-18, NIV)

Forgiveness – the battle of cutting free

photo by trying2

photo by trying2

Why do certain past events or circumstances seem to pull us backwards.  There can be many reasons, but in my experience it means something has been left unresolved, some hurt, some wrong dealt with, or dealt out.  Forgive and forget is the saying – but it seems we often try opting only for the latter.  But to do so is simply allowing a scab to form over an infected wound. As time goes on we may actually tune it out, assuming the problem is in the past.  But covered wounds get bumped and we feel the pain all over again.

Forgiveness can be a prolonged process.  Often we must scrape off the scab and look at an issue again. Difficult because there is still the instinct to leave it in the past, forget about it, man up and move on.  But that is like ignoring cancer.  No, we must dig deeper and apply Christ’s healing balm of forgiveness at the deepest most painful source.

I mentioned that the forgiveness can go both ways – sometimes we must forgive an offender, other times we must seek forgiveness for ourselves.  The first step is confession.carrying

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16, NIV)

While no one apart from Jesus, can truly comprehend and feel our pain, we are not called to walk alone.  Allowing others to come alongside can be an essential healing step.  Often a brother or sister in the faith can provide the added strength to get you to the foot of the cross, where the true healing occurs.  It also allows others to witness God’s grace at work in our lives, even through our failures.

There is an incredible scene in the movie ‘The Mission’ where Rodrigo Montego (Robert De Niro) plays a man overwhelmed with guilt from having killed his own brother.  It is ironic that in the film God uses the indians that Montego had hunted and enslaved for profit – to be his instruments of grace, assisting Montego break free from the burden.

Pennance will not do. It is essential to spend time at the foot of the cross, laying it all out before the One who already paid for the sins, regardless of whose sins.  He will remove the burden from you.

photo by Michael Wray

photo by Michael Wray

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But there is a spiritual insurgent. One who even though disarmed will use every thought and every emotion to convince you that the territory still belongs to him and that true forgiveness cannot be achieved.  But the insurgent is a liar who only seeks to kill, destroy, and to steal (John 10:10) what Christ has freely granted. For this reason we are commanded to take every thought captive and put it in submission to Christ, and Christ alone.

While forgiveness itself is obtained immediately, this battle to align our own thoughts and feelings with that spiritual reality often takes both time and diligence.  But with steadfast dependence upon Christ, the victory is assured.

Only after we have brought our wounds to the light are we able to cut free.  Leaving us finally freed for the journey with the true lover of our souls, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NASB95)