This has been a tough week with the shocking loss of America’s dear friend, Robin Williams. We feel that we lost a personal friend. We grew up with him. It is a real blow.
Before moving on I feel that each of us needs to stop the merry-go-round and emphasize to those around us how much we love them: how much joy their lives, support and friendship have brought to us. We must never assume that those we care for are fully aware of the value, the light, the importance that they hold in our hearts. Make it habitual. Tell them often. Show them daily.
This tragedy walks us back to Monday’s post: Lions, Tigers and Bears and goes hand in hand with our discussion of Why does a loving God allow these sad,awful, devastating (you pick the adjective!) things to happen? Or does He?
First off, I am writing from a Biblical Christian viewpoint. I know I have readers who are not believers in Christ. So, I will say at the outset. The most important step you will ever take is to pray, asking Jesus, Yeshua ha Mashiach, to be your Lord and Savior. If you haven’t done so yet, for real, then do it right now! If you have questions, email me. There is no guarantee that we will live to be 95 years old and die peacefully in our sleep. We all need to know, at this moment, that our eternal destiny is taken care of. No matter what you’ve heard elsewhere, John 14:6 explains in Jesus’ own words that He is the only way to get to heaven.
Pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is for empowerment that we discussed in Lions and Tigers and Bears post on Monday so I won’t repeat all the references for that. I know that there are lots of Believers in Jesus who have taken care of Step 1 and never even knew that they needed to take care of a Step 2. Without it, you then spend the rest of your lives, heaven bound, but wondering why you are getting beaten up everyday on the schoolyard of life and further, you can’t define your spiritual gifts if your life depended on it! (major fail for the modern church…but, I digress) Very different than Salvation in Step 1, without the all important Step 2, you will never walk like Jesus did in the signs, wonders, boldness and power that you need to operate in Victory.
General Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkoff once said, ” The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” He was a man who could get the job done! In John 16:13 Jesus explains that The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, was coming and that he will then guide us in ALL TRUTH. That’s a good one to memorize. So let’s get down to brass tacks truth, to those promised nuts and bolts of beating back the darkness and being proactive in our day- to- day lives.
The captain and crew know that it is time to jettison the baggage to lighten the load. So, it is time to jettison some old baggage. lighten the load and do a bit of soul searching. We are talking about FORGIVENESS.
Forgive the neighbor who did you wrong. Forgive the parents who did everything they could to ruin your life and mess you up. Forgive the teachers, coaches and mean kids out by the buses from your childhood. Forgive the mother-in-law, the sisters and brothers, the spouses and friends who disappointed or betrayed your trust. Forgive that friend that never paid you back the $20, $40 or $4000. you loaned them. Forgive yourself for making poor choices or wrong decisions. Forgive God for whatever you think He did or didn’t do to you or for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal long forgotten or blocked things to your memory so that you can deal with them once and for all.
Forgiveness is NOT saying that what they did is OK or that you are condoning the actions or behavior of your rapist or abuser, or your uncle’s murderer. Forgiveness is not saying that you have to be or want to be reconciled and best buds with that person. Many times the person you need to forgive is already dead. Forgive them anyway.
I have a good example of this very thing. I recently had a long- lost friend call me and with real, heartfelt emotion ask my forgiveness for some public, snippy, 8th grade words spoken to me. I had absolutely no recollection, whatsoever, of this incident. But, they had remembered that embarrassing memory of momentary bad behavior for 45 years! Bondage indeed! Forgiveness sought, Forgiveness happily given, shackles unlocked, treasured relationship restored! I love a happy ending!
I once had an old Labrador retriever, named Georgie Girl who, late in life, developed a wound on her leg and was soon psychologically incapable of leaving it alone.
She became accustomed to the taste of it. Touching it soothed her. As Georgie would lick and pick at that sore place it became bigger and uglier. It didn’t end well. Sometimes, just like old Georgie Girl, we tend to lick our wounds and nurse those hurts and grudges, whether real or imagined, until it takes over our lives and changes our very personality. We need to forgive. Break those chains and set it free where it can not fester and poison our life any longer. And really, in your heart, you know that the person you are harboring all this ill feeling for has moved on and forgotten all about it. They aren’t suffering, you are!
Many times we just don’t get why unforgiveness is an enormous problem from a Biblical perspective. So, here it is: Jesus died for us, to cover our sins–all of them. This marvelous deed cloaked us in His forgiveness and we essentially get to wear His supernatural righteousness. I, Sally the sinner, in no way, deserved this forgiveness and neither did you. We didn’t earn it. We didn’t even know we needed it!
In return for this fantastic, un-merited gift of His forgiveness we are expected to do the the exact same thing for those in our lives. Pay it forward, using His example. Not to do so means that you really didn’t get the point of this whole Jesus thing.
An unforgiving heart may sound like an old Hank Williams song but it is really a gaping, open door with a flashing neon welcome sign for the demonic to move into your life and make you sick and miserable in many ways.
You must slam that door and get your “house” cleaned out. ( Read Matthew 18: 21-35) This is a BIG, Walla-Pa-Loosa, Deal! I will not mince words here! (as if I knew how!) If you are harboring unforgiveness for anyone in your life, whether they deserve it or not! You are throwing that door open, LEGALLY, for the demonic tormentors to come in and stay. This is serious stuff. Read the Gospels. Jesus was constantly tossing out the demonic in concert with his healings. A one- two punch. Who are these jokers? Let’s look at just a few:
Spirits of Infirmity can make you sick, really and truly, and keep you there. Spirits of Depression can change your brain chemistry and smother all of the light and lie to you that Nothing will ever change. Spirits of Anger can blow up your family and drive away the ones you love. A Spirit of Fear can trap you in your home and encircle you with terrible tentacles that keep you from the destiny and purpose God has for your life. Spirit of Suicide and Spirit of Death imprison you in deep darkness, whisper in your ear that no one will notice if you are gone. Nothing will ever get better. No one loves you and even if they did, they will be better off without you. Lies. Satan is a big fatty- fat liar! (John 8:44)
This is no laughing matter! He and his minions do not want you to know how precious you are to Jesus. They will lie like a rug to keep you from the promises and blessings that are waiting for you in Christ. Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, Satan is the Father of Lies.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but you get the idea. These tormentors are free to stay in your life until you slam that door by forgiving everyone that needs forgiveness, revoke their lease and make them go! We will take on more rules of the game next time.
* Author’s note: I am in no way saying that depression, mental illness, serious disease have no medical basis, or that these symptoms are all in your head. Demonic activity can start at the cellular level and wreak real havoc with real medical records. Satan just loves it when we get so educated that we don’t believe in him anymore. For a must have on everyone’s bookshelf, I recommend “When Pigs Move In” by Don Dickerman as a good primer, in addition to the Bible, for what’s really going on behind the scenes in the spirit world.