I’ve had (some of it through Julie) several questions and communication regarding Sunday’s forgiveness 101 sermon. Thought I’d use this week’s email to speak to a topic I didn’t hit on Sunday, but might answer a few of the questions I’ve received.
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6 (ESV))
The invalid that Jesus asked that question of had been ill for 38 years. At first glance, one could wonder why Jesus asked the question. Someone sick and laying around a pool to be healed…of course, they want to be healed. Yet the man (verse 7) doesn’t really answer Jesus…it’s more a complaint of despair and resignation.
When it comes to forgiveness…sometimes we become so embittered and twisted in our mentality and thinking that we actually prefer lying in our grief and hurt, rather than going to the trouble it would take to be well again, we seem to prefer “lying there at the pool” seeking out pity and attention. Perhaps we’re resisting the healing process because we don’t want to put in the effort of doing what God may call on us to do, or perhaps we don’t want to face the pain of a past hurt (we’ve numbed ourselves to the hurt…convinced ourselves we’re “okay”…not seeing – or caring – how it impacts our relationships with others).
Whatever the reasons…we don’t seem to “want to be healed”…not really. We’d rather wallow in the pain, grieve/quench the Holy Spirit, bemoan our fate, hide in the darkness, let bitterness/anger/shame control us…to be blunt, we’d rather choose the path of Satan than be obedient to God about forgiving others.
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13 (ESV) )
The following is something I copied years ago…I don’t have the reference…I wish I did, I’d like to go back to reread the source. Over the years I’ve added a few things to the “we cannots.” It is powerful and something we all must deal with:
There is something we have to come to terms with when we deal with unforgiveness – it’s not easy, and it sounds cold, but…..we cannot change the events.
We cannot change the family we were born into.
We cannot change the way we were treated.
We can’t change the way a friend treated us.
We can’t change that our “Ex” hurt us.
We can’t change that our spouse cheated on us.
We can’t change that our child screamed, stomped and walked out of our life.
We can’t change the way the church treated us.
We can’t change the fact we were betrayed by someone close to us.
We can’t change the humiliation we were put through.
We can’t change the abuse.
The only thing we can change is our reaction to the event itself.
You cannot go back in time and change the event. It’s impossible to change. It’s there. It’s always going to be there. There is no way you can change the event, and that is where so much time is spent wrongly because we relive the scenario and we say over and over again, if only, if only, if only… but the fact is it is never going to change.
No amount of thinking, no amount of praying, no amount of therapy, stuffing, being busy ….will ever change the thing that happened which brought the hurt to our lives.
The only thing that can change is that which is in the present because the event itself is in the past. The thing that which is in the present is us and our attitude and our perspective toward what happened.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we must say yes to Jesus’ question – “do you want to be healed?” To not work through unforgiveness is to disobey, to block (quench) the Spirit’s work in your life. The healing comes to us as we forgive others. If you have struggled in this area…let the healing start today.