If you didn't catch this week's sermon for "Walk this Way," you missed a lot! But the good news is that you still have time to catch it online later this week on our You Tube Channel (click to subscribe), so don't miss out!
This week, Pastor Johnny spoke about having no condemnation in Jesus Christ and, specifically, about a woman brought before Jesus who had been caught in the very act of adultery. The trap was set. Keep the law, and the Romans would seize upon Jesus. Don’t keep the law, and those in power would have Jesus right where they wanted him. Yet, as was often the case, Jesus chose a third way, the way of the Kingdom. Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Let’s take a deeper dive into this idea.
Take a moment and imagine you have a stone in your hand, or, better yet, go outside and grab one. (Sometimes having something physical can help us fully grasp an idea.) Now, as you hold that stone, I want you to consider the weight of it. In Jesus' day, there was weight to each stone that people held, from the youngest to the oldest. Keep holding onto that stone; we're going to come back to this in a minute.
In our youthfulness we have a great deal more strength than the older version of ourselves, yet, as we grow older, we hope to gain greater wisdom. We learn to work smarter, not harder. But it's an interesting thing; no matter the weight or size of a stone, the longer we carry it, the heavier and more cumbersome it becomes.
Too often, as we grow older, we tend to pick up more stones of unforgiveness. We collect them in our pockets; we place them in our backpacks and hold on to them like baggage. But the truth is, these stones are our hurts, habits, and hang-ups and too often bear the weight of unforgiveness; they’re weights that we were never meant to carry that bring condemnation.
Let’s go back to that stone in your hand. What person or situation are you holding onto? What unforgiveness do you hold in your heart? Forgiveness is a choice, an act of will. It's not simply a feeling but a decision that we may have to make many times over before it takes hold. Perhaps, this is why when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone, Jesus said seventy times seven. That is, you forgive over and over again, as often as necessary, to prevent holding onto the big and little burdens for life.
Now for the challenge: ask God to forgive you for your unforgiving spirit, and ask Him to help you to forgive that person or situation. And if you are the one that you need to forgive, God will help you to do that too. Next, begin praying for that person every day this week. No, it won’t be easy, but it opens the way for the Healer to begin doing his work in your heart.
Understand, if even the smallest stone in our shoes can mess up our walk and cause us to stop, how much more will unforgiveness prevent us from Walking His Way?
Check out these verses to learn more about what God says about forgiveness:
Matthew 18:21-35, Colossians 3:13, Luke 17:3-4, Ephesians 4:31-32