Monday, September 4, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, September 5, 2017

Living Life Without Bitterness

On October 24, 1974, a man sexually assaulted and robbed a student at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The victim identified 19-year-old Edward George Carter. His trial, lasting one day, was replete problems such as serology tests exonerating him, the defendant already in custody when the attack occurred, and a woefully inadequate legal defense.  He served 35 years of a life sentence before the charges were finally dismissed.  On August 16, 2017, he received $1.7 million under a new Michigan law compensating him for his years in prison.

In his shoes, many would be bitter that most of their productive years were stolen from them.  But the Bible says that we must forgive those that sin against us because if we do not, the Father will not forgive our sins (Matthew 6:14-15).  The Bible says we are to bear with each other and forgive each other for their grievances (Colossians 3:13).  Going beyond forgiveness, Jesus,  who never did any sin, asked for forgiveness for those who tormented, mocked, and beat him (Luke 23:34).

Mr. Carter was freed in 2010 and seven years later finally received some compensation for opportunities missed, relationships destroyed, and dreams dashed. We do not know about His relationship to Christ, but his lawyer testified that he chose to live his life without bitterness.  In spite of the hurtful words, evil deeds, and disappointing circumstances that we may find ourselves in today, let us also turn away from bitterness or resentment and turn our hearts to Jesus who will keep us in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).  

Matthew 6:14-15
New International Version (NIV)
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Colossians 3:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you

Luke 23:34
New International Version (NIV)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Isaiah 26:3
New Living Translation (NLT)
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

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