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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is There Hatred in Your Heart?

Let's say I stood before my congregation this next Sunday and asked, "Would you please stand if you have hatred toward any other person?" I believe no one would stand. I also believe that each person would think he or she was telling the truth. But I cannot believe that there is no one in the room harboring hatred toward someone else.

People get hurt by others and do not know how to process that hurt. They internalize it. They cause it to come out on others. They explode or dream of revenge. Sometimes they try to bury the hurt. They do not forgive and get beyond the hurt because they do not allow the hurt to come to mind. The hurt bores its way like a trojan computer virus into all of their relationships.

Of course, Christians know that they can't admit that they have hatred and be good Christians. Thus, they are the best at trying to bury the things done against them. They say they have forgiven the hurt or that there is nothing to forgive. They may even believe themselves but the hurt remains. They simply refuse to bring it to mind.

The Bible doesn't say that we are to simply forgive but to love others. The signature characteristic for the Christian is love. How will we ever love if we have not forgiven? How can we love when the pain remains. How do we stop hurting?

Physical hurts come from injuries. Emotional hurts come in the same way. If we were physically hurt we would try to remove the pain and support the healing. We would administer antibiotics and give the injured area rest. We would keep the injured area from being hurt again.

Let's say a woman is being abused by her husband. He is physically and emotionally hurting her. The best action is to stop the continued injuries first. She gets out of the house to a safe place where she can begin healing. The husband needs to come to Jesus and seek the help necessary to stop the abuse. The woman cannot remain in the home until he can stop hurting his wife.

Now let's take that a little farther in any other relationship. Let's say that a person has a boss who abuses him. Should he continue to stay in that job? Abuse has an accumulative effect. More emotional abuse will result in more emotional trauma. The man may feel as trapped in his job as a woman feels in her marriage to an abusive husband. However, the injuries have to stop before the healing can begin.

The salve for healing an emotional or psychological hurt is forgiveness even though the flesh believes it is revenge. Revenge never resolves the pain because it only seeks to inflict pain on the other person. It is not good for the person seeking revenge for revenge will never pay the price for the hurt no matter how much it promises to do so.

Think of it this way: Punching another person back will not make your own pain go away. In fact, it makes your fist hurt. There is no measure of punches to reveal how much the punch received hurt. Is it a punch for a punch or maybe you need to punch them twice for the punch you received? It often results in getting punched again.

Forgive as soon as you are away from the pain. Forgiveness does not mean that you trust the other person. It doesn't mean that everything is just as it was before the pain was inflicted. It means that you give them a gift that they could never buy from you. It means that you accept the blood of Jesus as payment for what they did to you. It means that you will no longer be hounded by the pain that was inflicted upon you.

You must love that person but that love may be tough. It may involve testifying against them in a trial so that justice can be met. It may mean leaving that person so that they are no longer able to hurt you or others with impunity. Love is not doing what the other person wants you to do. Love is doing what they need you to do.

But, ultimately, love must be your goal. It is the first and last proof that we know Jesus. He loves you. He loves the person who hurt you. You love because He lives in you. You identify with Him best when you love.
And if you don"t, you really don"t Him.

1 John 3:11-15 (ESV)
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

4 comments:

Anthony Chia said...

Sorry, Ps, this turns out to be so long.

Ps Prentis, this is a superb entry. May God bless the reading of this entry of yours. This subject of forgiveness/hatred is a huge subject, but you have covered much of the pertinent grounds. Because of my own past hurt, and the ministry the Lord has brought me into, this has been a subject I spent much time researching the Word, meditating and even taught about (in Marketplace Divine Healing Meetings).

Ps Prentis, this and other like-entries of yours showed that you have all the right understanding of the subject and (most probably) the experience of helping people in this area. It strikes me that I should say this, and so, I say it – that you should pass this on, in a greater way, like training others in this area, both to give understanding and to minister, for there is a tremendous need in this area in many societies; I may sure the American society is no different.

I will only add a little, but as usual, in a long-winded way, to the points raised.

You said people bury the hurt and NOT want to address them, leading to the hurt like a computer virus still remaining in the people, only hidden, only for the moment, dormant and is NOT up, wrecking havoc.

Like the computer virus, it does acts up, from time to time, depending on the triggers involved. I just want to add that sometimes we hear preachers or pastors carelessly suggested - people will forget when they have forgiven (others). This is NOT right, for, it may encourage people to do the exact things we are saying people are tending to do – to bury the hurt and NOT want to address them. It can be said as to encourage people to engage in self-delusion thinking that “if I don’t remember, I have forgiven”. To forgive and having forgiven have nothing to do with “will remember or NOT remember”. We can only say there can be healing of the memory. There is still memory of the incident or event, only the hurt sting is no more – there has been a healing of the memory.

That erroneous teaching also give rise to confusion to people who thought they have NOT forgiven when they can remember the incident or event, for they now thought the test of forgiveness is whether or NOT, one remembers or NOT. The correct teaching should be you will remember, but it is the sting of hurt is no more, even when you remember the incident; Jesus has taken the hurt from you, and nailed it on the Cross. We can encourage people to testify to the glory of God, and people who are honestly testifying to the glory of God, are doing it, on this ground purely, that the Lord took the hurt away, NOT the memory, for without the memory how can one testify!

So, I always remind the people I minister to or teach, “You will remember, but it is the incident will hurt-sting you no more”, when you have truly forgiven the person who wronged you.

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

The other very important point you brought in, is that forgiveness has to do with love. God forgives us because of His love for us. John 3:16 said that God so loved us that we gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the Cross, for us, so that we may have eternal life. What is wrought for us, on the Cross, by the works of Christ Jesus? Yes, forgiveness; and with forgiveness, would it then, be that we would NOT be headed to death in Hell, which is the punishment for those unforgiven by God. See, forgiveness has everything to do with love.

Because of His love for us, He forgives. Col 3:13 said that we are to forgive, as God forgave us. That is saying we are to forgive in the same way God forgave us. How does God forgive us? He forgives, because of His love for us; and He forgives, by grace. Now, with this, we have another test for forgiveness, apart from the “hurt-sting no more, when we bring the incident in memory again”, it is this: “Are you now able to re-love this person whom you said you have forgiven, with the love of God or God’s kinda of love”. When you have NOT forgiven the person, you are NOT loving him, with God’s kinda of love (I will NOT go into what is God’s kinda of love, here. I touched on this before).

To forgive is an act of love, and when you have done this act of love, of forgiving, your standing with God will be restored. It is NOT that you were no longer recognised by God, but it is your standing did get affected when you did NOT forgive others. God views unforgiveness on our part, very seriously, and that seriousness was stressed to us through the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

Matt 6:15 also stressed the seriousness – “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

The flow of God’s love and compassion through one who is NOT forgiving, is hindered. The love and compassion of God is subjugated to righteousness and holiness. Such, God’s love and compassion, being from and of a holy God, naturally flow best through righteous and holy vessels. We, as believers, are set apart; set apart unto God, and so, unto holiness. When we forgive NOT, to put it bluntly, we are being wicked or evil (instead of being righteous and holy), for, as the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant is pointing to, the unforgiven person could be in torment because of our unwillingness to forgive; Is that NOT wicked?

Another angle to view this: God has forgiven us, by grace when we deserve death in Hell, we won’t forgive another of a wrong done to us, which surely the gravity of which, cannot be compared to the wrongs and sins, of our lives, that God so graciously forgiven us!

There is also an “arguable verse” pointing to our NOT loving when we forgive NOT, and it is this: John 20:23 - “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” One way of viewing this verse (NOT the only way) is that when we forgive someone who wronged US (NOT someone else, but ourselves), his sin is also forgiven by God (why would God NOT forgive when He wants us to forgive by grace, that we no longer hold it against the person; why would God still hold it against that person for wronging us?), but when we forgive NOT the person who has wronged us, the sin is kept on (until he has asked God for forgiveness for the sins he has done [including the one against us], in the spirit of 1 John 1:9), and that is wickedness, on our part, for we are NOT merciful when we ourselves want all our sins to be forgiven by God always, yet letting the sin of this person be kept on, by our unforgiveness. Any sins kept on, prospects the person to face the consequence of sins.

Lastly, the text that Ps Prentis quoted has a verse that underscored it too, the seriousness of unforgiveness in the eyes of God – 1 John 3:15 - “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

God’s love and compassion will find problem with wicked vessels; but flow freely through righteous and holy vessels or vessels truly set apart unto holiness or God.

I speak from own testimony which I have given in a comment a couple of days before, here. God’s love and compassion for people other than the immediate loved ones, dried up in my life that I found it so difficult to go back to serve the Lord in any meaningful ministry, to love with God’s love and show compassion, godly compassion, to others. When we have been abused and oppressed, resentment and hurt can built up in us. These have to be dealt with; and they can only truly go away when we have forgiven (for it is only then, that Jesus takes them [the resentment and hurt] away). When we leave such be, they hinder the flow of God’s love and compassion through us.

I could have waited for my multi-years divorce court battle to finish before I would forgive my ex-wife or I could as I did, forgave her as soon as possible, for all the abuse and oppression I suffered for the many years before she filed the divorce.

Now, it is must be stressed that the abuse and oppression is viewed from my own faith perspective in accordance to my belief and understanding of the Word, and it does NOT necessarily mean she could perceive as abusive and oppressive, and so, too, that it does NOT necessarily stand in secular court of law. I want to stress this, so that tomorrow I do NOT get sued by ex-wife, bringing against me, a contempt of court charge, for the ground for divorce was irreconcilable differences (a common clause used by women, from the Women Charter). Just a cut and paste from a legal dictionary to give the picture - “irreconcilable differences n. the usual basis for granting a divorce (dissolution) in no-fault divorce states. If one party says the marriage is irretrievable and refuses to reconcile then such differences are proved to exist.” Again, from my own faith perspective, such is no ground for divorce, as far as the Word is concerned.

It was a choice I had to made, to forgive or NOT to forgive; it was hard to forgive, but I knew I have to forgive, and I must want to forgive. I knew I had to “rebuilt my spirit to be strong enough” to do the right things, and that included to forgive. And so, even as I faced the onslaught of the legal proceedings (by the way, it ended some 2 years ago), I voluntarily sought “inner healing and deliverance” counselling and ministry to have myself restored by the Lord, for really who could help me then, but only the Lord.

When I chose to forgive, and be restored by the Lord, the love of God and His compassion flowed once again in my life. Now, it is NOT that my many problems of finances, handling legal proceeding, holding down a job, and handling my teenage children (multi-years divorce proceeding setting is no joke when it comes to how far one can go with discipline and teaching the children caught in it), they disappeared; no, they were still there, all the time, so to speak! Yet, by the grace and empowering of God, I did what no pastor even, did; I would go to all 3 services of each weekend, Saturday and Sundays, to be God’s instrument of love and compassion to the church service congregation, released words of knowledge and prophecy and ministering and praying for people with various afflictions of life, including many in the area of sicknesses that needed healing, and others, in hurts from strained relationship, including marriages. Church pastors then, in my church, if they were on duty, they only needed to be on duty for 2 out of the 3 services; I went for all 3, all the times! Lord, you know I meant none of this as a boasting of what I have accomplished by my own strength, but that it is shared to impart understanding in an area so important in our lives - that we just cannot bear grudge against one another, and still expect our disposition bothers you NOT.

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

Had I refuse to forgive my ex-wife, until I have won the multi-years court battle that went all the way to the High Court, I would have missed the several years of working together with the Lord. Oh, how precious was these several years; my life was changed, yes, because of the divorce brought against me, yet my life was changed because of the personal experience I have had with the Lord, from that divorce. How it has been wonderful, that ink on paper turned rhema; and supernatural things that thought to be only Jesus did and His then disciples did, I experienced them myself. How could I NOT go to church services when the Lord would love and give His compassion through me!

Forgiveness is NOT about after you have won the court battle, and you got what you are entitled to. It is NOT about “after you pay me my damages, then I will forgive you”. That is NOT forgiveness; that is you got your compensation; the party owes you nothing already; that is you now say you forgive, when you forgive nothing! It is like I step on your foot, and you say “I will forgive you, after I have step you back on your foot”. If you step me back, at best, it is we are even, you did NOT forgive me; there is no grace. Forgiveness with no grace, is no forgiveness, for we are to forgive in the same way as God forgave us, by grace.

Ps Prentis rightly said that forgiveness has to do with love; to forgive is love. He is right to say it can be tough to love. Not only it is tough, it is that we love with God’s kinda of love, and when we love with God’s love, it still may mean
(a) Testifying against the person in a trial so that justice can be met. In my case, it was a fight, in the words of my then Senior Pastor, “a fight for righteousness”.
(b) It may mean leaving that person so that they are no longer able to hurt you or others with impunity.
(c) We are NOT to do what the other person wants us to do. Ps Prentis said, “Love is doing what they need you to do.” What they need you to do, is viewed against God’s Word, God’s righteousness. We need to forgive the person, and that is the need they need us to do. We are to forgive the person who hurt us, but if what they want is to continue to hurt us and abuse us, love is NOT we have to do that – letting them to continue to hurt us and abuse us.

I forgave my ex-wife, but that did NOT necessarily meant I ought NOT fight her for the care and control of my children, and a share of the matrimonial assets. I did get the care and control of my children, and a share of the matrimonial assets, in the end.

People must NOT forget: Just because you are a child of God, you can do as you like to another? The one at the receiving end can be a child of God, too, you-know. Must God favour you and ignore his prayer and supplication? Please, there still is righteousness and justice with God, even as his love and faithfulness goes before Him (Ps 89:14). Yet, vengeance is NOT for us to pursue; it belongs to God. Romans 12:19 - Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

What we know we must do, is to forgive, just as God forgave us, by grace. And when we agree we will NOT take vengeance into our own hand, but to leave it to God, then mean what we hold out; it is now up to God, what He will do, when He will do, or NOT do. We accept.

Today, make the choice to forgive and NOT bear any more grudge or hatred for another, and so, be a more acceptable vessel through which His love and compassion can flow through, to bless others, and with much blessing to yourself, as it was the case of mine.

PS: There is a missing word from the last line of the blog entry (before the scripture quote) - And if you don’t, you really don’t KNOW Him.

Isn’t it marvellous; I forgave, so I loved, and I did get to KNOW Him a lot better!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions