Monday, October 6, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 9 - Healing and Forgiveness

Worship is my favorite part of most church services. The Holy Spirit brings healing to my heart in many ways through music and I love to sing praises about and to my God. I tend to be mostly a logical person (as opposed to an emotional person) except when music is involved. Years ago when my dad was getting married (after my mom's death to my wonderful step mother Beth) My sister and I were going to sing a song together during the ceremony. We must have practiced and sang the song together 10 times and not once did I have a problem singing it. Until the ceremony. I got so choked up at the meaning of the song in the moment that I literally could not sing. My poor sister who was supposed to be singing the "harmony" portion had to sing almost the entire song by herself. Thankfully, she is the better singer of the two of us and was able to pull it off!

I often relate to David and am encouraged by the Psalms. (Which many of our praise and worship songs come from.) After David sinned with Bathsheeba and then tried to plot his way out of being found out-ultimately resulting in her husband Uriah's death, the prophet Nathan came and told David a story. (2 Samuel 12:1-12) It was a story about how a wealthy man had guests arrive at his home and he decided to throw them a feast. But instead of using one of his own lambs as the main course, he had his servants take away another man's only lamb, that he had raised as his child, for the meal. David was enraged and said that the wealthy man deserved to die and that he must pay four times over for what he had done. Nathan then reveals to David that He (David) is as the wealthy man in the story. He had wives he could have slept with instead of taking Bathsheeba and ultimately killing her husband. There is power and truth that we need in the next verse: 2 Samuel 2:13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan replied, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die." When we are repentant and confess our sins to the Lord, He takes our sins away-as far as the east is from the west. Psalms 103:10-12 says, "He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

When we have done wrong, it is often easy to stay in our pit of condemnation. When others have wronged us, it is easier to place them in condemnation instead of forgiving. But God clearly shows us that once sin is recognized and there is repentence, sin is removed from the sinner. The Schofield Reference Bible says this of Psalms 103:12 about the Hebrew translation of the word "remove."

1] Removed our transgression from us

Three Hebrew words are trans. forgive, forgiven: kaphar, to cover; nasa, to lift away; salach, to send away (cf). Lev 16:21,22 the fundamental O.T. idea of forgiveness being not the remission of penalty, but the separation of the sinner from his sin. Ps 103:12 expresses this.

The part that I really appreciate about that definition is that it is not the "remission of penalty" but the separation of the sinner from the sin. There may still be consequences to actions we have taken. I have never understood how people can laugh and say, "Oh, he is just 'sowing his wild oats' before settling down." You will reap what you sow. There may still be fields that you will have to tend and plow under and re-sow, even after you have come to repentence, if you have sown thoughtlessly, but praise God you are forgiven and can begin again OUT of the pit of death, condemnation and despair. In Psalm 103:4 David is praising God, "who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion." I guarantee when you know that you are forgiven of something that you become crowned with a new love and compassion for others who may have stumbled into the same pit that you did.

Healing and forgiveness hinge on repentence. Perhaps someone has wronged you and never asked for forgiveness - from God or from you. What then? Is healing and forgiveness possible for you? Yes! You may not have a complete restoration of a relationship, but you can release your pain to the Lord and trust that justice is HIS to repay and the Lord will heal, restore, and release you from the bitterness within.

I want to close with a small portion of Casting Crown's song "East to West." We need to allow Jesus to show us how far "east is from the west" and take the Spiritual battle position of standing in belief of what God has done for us.

Jesus, can You show me just how far the East is from the West?
Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
Cause You know just how far the East is from the West
From one scarred hand to the other

I know You've washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through
To get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel
But by the truth Your word reveals
And I'm not holding onto You
But You're holding onto me
You're holding onto me

I would love to hear some of your stories of forgiveness or Scriptures that God has given you in the midst of forgiving someone else.

Continuously resting in HIS mercy & Grace,

No comments: