Author and speaker Denis Waitley shares about an experience that marked his life forever. Denis was trying to catch a flight for a speaking engagement, but he was running late, so he was literally running though the airport terminal. He got to the gate the split second the gate agent closed the door. Denis explained his predicament, but the agent didn’t budge despite his begging. That’s when his frustration turned into fuming. He stormed out of the boarding area and back to the ticket counter to register a complaint and reschedule his flight. The anger intensified as he waited for more than 20 minutes in a line that barely moved. Just before he got to the ticket counter, an announcement over the intercom changed his life, because he realized that missing that flight had saved his life. The flight he missed, flight 191 from Chicago to L.A., crashed on takeoff with no survivors.
Denis Waitley never registered his complaint. In fact, he never returned his invalidated ticket for flight 191. He took it home and pinned it on a bulletin board in his office. In the wake of that experience, anytime he felt frustrated or got upset, all he had to do was glance at his ticket from flight 191.
The primary Greek word Jesus uses for forgiveness is “aphiemi,” which is formed by “apo,” meaning “from,” and “hiemi,” meaning “to send.”
It’s used 142 times in the New Testament and most of those uses describe actions OTHER than forgiveness.
Mark 1:34 – Jesus drove out demons.
But even in the 45 times it’s used to describe the act of forgiveness, it still retains the sense of releasing something closely held or trapped.
In other words, in order for us to forgive someone there’s a real sense in which we must “release” something.
Why are we so easily entrapped by the desire for an easy life? Life is hard. And I’ve got it easy! Compared to most people who ever lived or are living, I have a luxurious lifestyle.
And particularly as Christians we are called to a battle, not a life of ease; to a battle, a warfare, a wrestle, a struggle. it’s partly a battle with our old self; partly a battle against evil spiritual powers and principalities.
Christ has equipped us for the battle. “Be strong in the Lord. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand up against the devil.” -Ephesians 6:10-11
Satan’s goal is to have you depend on anything else but God for joy, peace, and satisfaction. His master plan is to achieve in this world the best possible condition that can be obtained apart from God. I am not all together convinced that Satan is pleased with raw, revolting sin as he is a multitude of smaller ones that keep us from the Lord.
I think its much easier to win an addict to Jesus Christ than it is to win a “moral man.” Why? Because the former hit a low where they see that sin isn’t “working.” They know they need something. The hardest are those who are so confident in their own goodness and morality that they think they have no need for a Savior.
Satan does not care how good you are. The more moral the better! If you stop just short of following Christ, you are his big success.
Satan is a created being, apparently an angel, with responsibility to earth whose pride caused him to rebel against God. And somehow he still rules the earth in some provisional way. Why? I don’t know. But his days are numbered.
Why hasn’t God spoke these 2,000 years since Jesus. Is it an indication of impotence?
NO! The silence of God is the silence of omnipotence. He’s not wringing His hands or worried.
It’s a lot like Israel when they demanded and received a king. They no longer sought God’s rule. They wanted a human ruler. And God gave them their request along with the consequences. Saul was set as king over Israel, and for a while he did a fair job of ruling for God. Then he got on the toboggan slide of sin and landed in the tent of an old fortune teller. From there he went to the battlefield where God said, “This is enough. Let him fall on his own sword.”
While Saul was sliding, God had anointed David to be king. David was the real king, but in exile, rejected, hunted and hounded by the usurper on the throne. Often other men broke with Saul and his kingdom and came to David to identify with him, even though he was not on the throne. They shared in his sufferings.
Then one day Saul came to an end. David and his followers marched victoriously. All Israel was happy but the happiest were those who had broken with the old system and knew what it was like to live with the rejected king. Why did God let all that happen? I don’t know. Why He let Saul sit on the throne for so long after He had officially denied him that right, while his king suffered in the forest, I don’t know. But God does.
Why does He let the usurper, Satan, still hold sway while His king, whom He has anointed, His own Son, King Jesus, still walk outside the camp of this world? I do not know. But He knows. And that is good enough for me.
C.S. Lewis said,
Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.
The Bible says more than once that God’s forgiveness is somehow contingent on our ability to forgive. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair. God won’t forgive my wrongs if I don’t forgive the wrongs of others that could have been stopped by God in the first place?
I Corinthians 13:5 says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” But I don’t think it’s the wrongs themselves that we keep recalling as if we choose to do that. It’s the triggers: sounds, sights, smells that bring back the feelings of rage. How can you forgive something that seems so real, so today, so awful?
As Christians we are called to absolute surrender to Christ. What is it? To the man and woman who share His life it is not admiration or imitation.
It’s just surrender. It’s handing my life over to God. All of it.
My will: I remit to His arbitration every choice I make.
My intellect: Christ is such to me that I stand by what He said against all scholars.
My emotions: Potentially damaging ones like anger must be emoted in the right place with the right thing for the right reason.