In a World of Bitterness, Forgiveness Is Shocking
November 5, 2017
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #568.
Forgiveness is much more than just a Christian principle; in a world full of bitterness and rage, it’s a legitimate power that believers are given to wield.
(Carole) I was genuinely pierced and encouraged and enthralled, and you know, just living life I will see something, and I will go, “Oh, my gosh, that’s just all about forgiveness. It’s really, that’s really all about forgiveness.” What’s going on in this world today, it’s really all about a world that is so full of bitterness that needs desperately to know forgiveness, needs desperately to be able to release that bitterness, to repent of, release that bitterness and find forgiveness and know that they are forgiven for even the unspeakable bitterness. It truly is the center of the Gospel. And the scriptures that Martha uses, it’s like a synopsis. It’s like bringing the Gospel into… It’s a synopsis. And where you’ve got scripture, when you read scripture, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John through Revelation, it’s like bringing all of that together and understanding it in the very heart, the very heart of God. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He did not come to condemn us, but to release us, and it’s through forgiveness. He came to forgive us and set us free. And this book (Altogether Forgiven) absolutely encapsulizes (encapsulates) that message beyond anything that I can describe. It is so personal, and it is so intimate. It is an intimacy that the Lord is bringing us into through that book. I really believe that.
(John) You know, when I was reading it myself, I was thinking, “You know something? This book is as close to the whole Stephen before he was stoned.” The Stephen sermon that he spoke, that he literally laid it out. He said, here it is from the beginning to the end, here’s the entire story. Here’s exactly what ya’ll have done. Here’s exactly where you are, and it was just completely laid out. And then He saw Jesus and was stoned to death. So, but you in this book, you encapsulated – exact good word – you encapsulated the entire, the whole story, the whole thing.
(Carole) And man’s story.
(John) Man’s story.
(Carole) Man’s corruption. Man’s…
(Carole) Proclivities. Man’s, oh, who we really are.
(Carole) And how God, our loving Father, even where we had chosen to be, where we have chosen to be sends His Son to forgive us.
(Carole) For our monstrosities. Right?
(John) Umhmm. Right. Yeah, absolutely. Jen and I were talking the other day. We were speaking about how perfect it is that this book is being released at this time, in this season, for such a time as this. I think this is also a book that is for such a time as this, because we have a world that is fuming and fighting and spitting and spinning out with unforgiveness, with bitterness, with rage, with what?
(Martha) And murder.
(John) And murder, absolutely. And it’s just like there’s a cauldron we’re living in, and I feel like the book is just perfectly set for this time. I don’t think you… Any other time and it wouldn’t have worked as well as it’s going to work right now. Do you agree with that Jen?
(Carole) And through it our hearts are completely splayed open.
(Carole) Is that not right? Our hearts are splayed open, and the Holy Spirit through Martha exposes the very motives and intentions of our hearts, only to be brought to the light, so that we can be set free.
(Jen) And that is what we’re in need of…
(Jen) …in this cauldron. Yeah, John, that’s very true. I’ve been thinking a lot since we met and talked about it. I was, I read a single comment, and I read a lot of stuff, and I couldn’t even tell you where I was when I read it, but it was something that just kind of went off on my head like a flash bang, a grenade. And he said, “…in this world where there is no forgiveness” – that’s what somebody said to describe the world that we live in now. “You know,” I said, “That’s really accurate.” You cannot, if you are, you know… And it’s moved out of just public figures into you can be somebody who, you know, said the wrong thing to the wrong waitress who happened to have a huge Twitter following, you know, a lot of Twitter followers, a big Facebook page with tons of friends. And the next thing you know, you’re broadcast everywhere. You’ve lost your job, you know. You’re hounded in your town. You are a pariah, you’re a horrible person. And there is no place for not just genuine repentance, there’s not even a place anymore for basic human remorse. We don’t even allow someone to say, “I messed up. I messed up, and I’m really sorry. I should not have done that.” We don’t let someone say that. There’s no grace for someone, because there’s no forgiveness. We don’t forget. We say, “Yes, your entire life should be blown up, and now I’m going to go on to the next person, who I’m going to blow up.” It’s this march of rage and bitterness and unforgiveness. And that’s exactly what it is, and we are taking our pound of flesh out across the world. And then here comes this book. And there is no fighting hell’s cauldron with the same methods. And I see a lot of people doing that. And the reason I think it’s coming to a head is for a long time it was really just one side or the other at any given time that was taking the lead and throwing the punches. And it would switch off, you know, as it always does. But now, I think it’s frothy, because both sides are tooth-and-nail, just swinging. Nobody’s listening. Nobody’s even talking. They’re just fighting, just out and out battle. And if you jump in that fray on their ground, you’re done. And so, you look at it and say, “It’s hopeless. What can you possibly do?” And this book comes in and says, “This. It is the power to change the world.” And we have no respect for it, because we so little understand it. We so little understand it. We so little allow the Lord in us to walk this out and for us to see what that actually does, how that ripples across the world, how that detonates through our families, through… I mean we have no frame of reference because we won’t, we don’t see that that’s Him and that’s the key. The strange humility of Jesus Christ. That’s the name of one of my favorite chapters in this book. And it is. It’s as unworldly, otherworldly bizarre. Jesus was just, He was weird. He was so weird. And His humility was, it’s not what we think it was. It wasn’t a hmmmmloo, lalala. It was also the humility that is so completely and totally submitted to His Father, that somehow when people are screaming and demanding an explanation – and the Bible doesn’t say how. We don’t know how He, you know, ninja-ed His way through a crowd that wanted to stone Him. We have no idea what that looked like, but I can tell you it wasn’t His super-strength or His, you know, “Get out of My way, people, before I clothes-line you, because I’m Jesus Christ, Son of God. Take that! Elbow to the face, eagle claw to the eyes!” You know. I mean He wasn’t kung fu fighting His way out. It was the strange humility that simply moved these other forces, because it wasn’t flesh and blood that He moved through. It was, “You have no opening to Me. You’ve got no foothold to Me. You’ve got no hand hold. I’m going to move through.” And this book, this book is just going to, it’s going to detonate in individual lives. And then that blast is going to spread out. I absolutely believe that. And I might just be saying that because my own life looks like a lot of shrapnel right now. But in a really good way, in a really good way. And I can’t believe that it’s just going to be with me. When it’s done with me, it’s going to go out, because that’s what He does. That’s my prayer.
In a World of Bitterness, Forgiveness Is Shocking – Episode #570 – Shulamite Podcast
Forgiveness is much more than just a Christian principle; in a world full of bitterness and rage, it’s a legitimate power that believers are given to wield. To understand forgiveness is to begin to appreciate and understand the very heart of God Himself.