Tag Archive | Matthew 16:24

Fighting the Ghosts of Unforgiveness

Wallace SwordThe 2005 movie The Kingdom of Heaven illustrates an important lesson about forgiveness. As the inhabitants of the city prepare to defend Jerusalem from the onslaught of the Muslim army led by Salahadeen, the hero of the movie, Balian, makes this observation…

We fight over an offense we did not give, against those who were not alive to be offended.

How many times has this very scenario been repeated throughout history? How many wars have been started over an offense that can no longer be remembered? How many times have lives been destroyed because someone took up the offense of another person?

The Bible says in Proverbs 17:9 that…

He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

We as Christians are called — not to take up the offense of others — but to “deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus” (Matthew 16:24). We are called to be living sacrifices in a world in which sacrifice is rare. As I once heard someone say…

The problem with living sacrifices is they keep crawling off the altar.

Sometimes, it feels better to “pick up our sword”  than to lay down our pride. But it could be your “soft answer turning away wrath” that brings peace to a situation, and heals a transgression through an act of love.

How can you be that voice of forgiveness, love, and reconciliation today?

The Power of Being

BPRecently, while on a trip to Great Britain, we visited iconic sites like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Holyrood Palace, and St. Andrews.

Big Ben

Big Ben / Parliament


We also journeyed to Stratford Upon Avon, the home of the great poet and playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true…” There is also an old Greek aphorism which, when translated, means “Know thyself.”
Our existence is a miracle of creation. We are human beings. We have the gift of “being.” It is interesting that the name of God in Hebrew — Yahweh — is a “being verb” meaning “I am who I have always been, and I always will be who I am.”

The scripture says…

“… In Him we live and move and have our being…” ~ Acts 17:28

With my wife, Paulette, in front of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Our being means we are more than unreasoning animals. We are made in the image of God, and though fallen, we are given our being back by the sacrifice of Christ!

So I must know who I am and understand my God-given talent, temperament and opportunity. My being can (and should) be filled with His Holy Spirit and His gifts. I can be more than I imagined.

Jesus said for us to deny ourselves for His sake…

“… If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” ~ Matthew 16:24

 

With my grandson, Ethan Logue, near Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

However, we can’t do that until we affirm ourselves. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love your neighbor. It’s time for we as believers to see ourselves the way God sees us. When we choose to deny self, we aren’t giving up anything. By setting aside the very thing that anchors us to death (our sinful nature) and taking up the cross, we are gaining infinitely more than we are leaving behind. The act of following Jesus is the ultimate act of being true to yourself… living the life for which you were always intended — the life for which you were created.

But it is also not just about the individual… individual churches have being as well, and churches must be true to who they are and what they are positioned, gifted, empowered, and called to do.

True human beings are all unique and special. Our churches are as well — each with its own unique calling.

 

Let’s be something great for God — together!

At Cardiff Castle, Wales