(Sorry I’ve taken so long to finish this…the end of 4H just came and went and I had no spare time at all!!)
Eric taught this session (it was two hours long!!) and the color on the back of the screen changed from pink to…blue. Apparently, Eric doesn’t like pink. =) Eric told some really good stories to illustrate what he was saying. I’m going to retell them the best I know how from my notes, though I’m sure that Eric tells them much better! (It was very hard, he talks a lot and he talks fast!!)
The Lakehouse was a house up there by the church. It is temperature controlled, always kept at about 70˚ to 75˚. In your imagination, think that its…oh, -5˚ outside in a snow storm, a big one. Not any snow, mind you, it’s snow that stings and now you’ve got little red welts all over. You’re staring at the Lakehouse and see people inside, dancing and laughing and just having a good time. There’s a lock on the door and you examine it closely. You look in your pockets at the keys that you have and try them. ‘Um…that one doesn’t work. But I got another one!! Oh, that one doesn’t work. But I still got another one!’ and so it goes on until you go for your next key…but there’s none there. You start panicking. You’re freezing outside and you can’t get where it’s warm! You look up and see a sticky note on the door. “(Name), Come in, I unlocked the door for you.” At the bottom of the note is Jesus’ name, signed in blood. ‘Really?’ you think. You give the door a little push, not expecting anything to happen, but it does. The door opens easily for you. But…you don’t join the dancers, oh no, you’re unworthy, remember? You couldn’t find the key for the door so you give a little run for the coat closet and hide in there, knowing for sure that if anyone sees you, they’ll kick you out. One day, someone finds you hiding there. “What are you doing in here?” You stare in horror. “Don’t tell anyone I’m here!!! PLEASE!! They’ll kick me out!” The person looks at you in confusion. “Didn’t you come in through the door?” You nod yes worriedly. “But…but I’m unworthy!” They look at you and smile. “If you come in through the door, then you’re a child of the owner. Everything here, belongs to you!!!” He starts showing you all the rooms and all the help you can get in the rooms. Finally you come to one room. “And this room…is the room of Forgiveness.”
We have a position that Paul is always, always talking about. We are in Christ. We aren’t on top of Him. We aren’t beside Him. We aren’t even under Him. We are in Him. Clothes don’t give us any benefits when they’re laying on the floor. You don’t stand on them. You don’t stand by them. It would be really embarrassing if we went somewhere, walking on our clothes!! And like we must be ‘in’ our clothes, we must be ‘in’ Christ. In Christ, you can do anything…including forgive the unforgivable.
Let’s say that God asks you to jump from New York–across the Atlantic Ocean–to London. Well, guess what? You can’t!! You never will be able to either!! So…God builds an airplane. Some people stand in the terminal…staring. They sing songs about the airplane. They talk about it, admire it…and somehow think that it’s going to fly them across the ocean. Other people actually get on the pavement. They also sing, talk, and admire the plane. But it doesn’t fly them anywhere from there either. Some of those on the pavement move closer and hug the airplane…they sing and kiss it, crawl around on top…but if you’ve noticed, it’s kinda hard to hang on when it takes off when you are on the outside!! Suddenly, you (you’re crawling around on the wings, exploring…) and you find a sticky note on the door. ‘Come in,’ it says. Come in? you think. What is going on? So, you open the door and crawl in the passenger’s seat. Now that you’re there, you don’t try to flap your wings and fly the plane yourself. You need Christ to take you over and fly through the storms Himself.
The Devil isn’t an idiot. He isn’t stupid. He isn’t dumb.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy seven times.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything. ’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe. ’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you. ’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? ’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
10 thousand talents = $100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or so
100 pence = a couple of bucks
Eric gave three types of forgiveness.
- Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness breeds resentment and bitterness. Resentment and bitterness grows and takes over. Not only the person, but the home, the business, and the church.
- Human forgiveness. It doesn’t hold offense. It doesn’t hate that person, nor does it love. The fault is still remembered, even though there’s no resentment held against that person.
- Devine forgiveness. Fault is removed, now offers kindness and love. There is an honest desire to see them triumph in God. They love them the way God loves them.
There is a beautiful meadow called your soul. It’s full of wild flowers, trees, and beautiful looking and sounding birds. There’s little rolling hills and a babbling creek running right through the middle. There’s this one place at the stream where it does this little curve and you love to skip to it and do a fancy little jump over it. There’s no fear of land mines, no fear of anything. Everything is peaceful.
Something has invaded your space!! It’s a dump truck and you can hear it backing in…beep…beep…beep…and it dumps–manure–right on your spot. It smells bad. Really bad. You didn’t do anything to deserve this manure, but it’s there. You put up yellow tape to black the area off and you start to investigate.
There are three ways that you could handle this…
1. The Shrine (Resentment)
You turn it into a shrine of hurt. It was someone else’s problem and they made a mess of your meadow. You set it apart for mourning of the beautiful place it used to be. You set up a building around it and capture the smell to preserve everything. All light is cut off. Every time you enter, you plan your revenge. The ground dies. A prickly bush called Bitterness quickly grows. It’s the perfect atmosphere and it spreads and fills the building. Before you know it…it breaks through the building and takes over your entire meadow. The birds leave, the clouds are grey, all the wild flowers are dead.
2. Dead Ground (Human Forgiveness)
Instead of turning it into a shrine, you choose to forgive. Your friends pat you on the back and you know that you did the right thing. All the manure is left untouched. The tape is taken down and you attempt to forget the event. Every time you pass it, you must remind yourself that you have forgiven them. The spot never grows again. There is no shrine, and there is no meadow. The manure petrifies. It’s all dead.
3. Prayer Garden (Devine Forgiveness)
God marks it off and tills it into the ground. (Did you know that farmers pay big money for manure? It’s a very good fertilizer!!) He plants flowers. When they’re grown, they are the most beautiful flowers in the meadow. The worst part of the meadow has now become the most beautiful. God builds a bench for you to sit and pray for the person who dropped the manure. Oops!! The person harmed a real Christian…God’s after them now cuz you’ve been praying just for them.
Think about it.