In the block buster movie The Planet of the Apes, Caesar, the leader of the apes, and a human named Malcolm, both hoped for peace between the two species. However, in a scene at the end of the movie, Caesar tells Malcolm that war is inevitable. He then says, "Apes started the war and humans won't forgive."
When I heard that line, I thought "Wow." Here they are going into war, where countless lives will be destroyed, simply because someone wouldn't forgive. Although that thought is really sad, most of us know it is a reality happening every day. There are many relationships destroyed because someone wouldn't forgive: marriages, families, friendships and churches.
I believe that most of us have trouble with unforgiveness because we are shocked and appalled when we have been offended in certain environments. How many folks do you know that quit a job, ended a friendship, disowned family, or changed churches because they felt like ‘surely I should not have been offended there'? However, in Luke 17, Jesus declares that there is no getting around being offended. He goes as far as to say it is impossible that offences will not come. That means it does not matter how long you have known someone or how long we have been in certain surroundings, it is very probable that you will encounter an offence there.
In the discourse of this passage of scripture in chapter 17 Jesus tells the disciples if someone wrongs them, forgive them, even if it happens seven times in one day(the seven times in a day being a metaphor that the time is always right for forgiveness). The disciples' response to Jesus' mandate to forgive was, "Lord increase our faith." Then Jesus tells them, "If you had the faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree be plucked by the root and cast into the sea, and it would obey you." I believe Jesus uses this sycamine tree as an example of how to deal with unforgiveness because the sycamine tree was known to have deep roots.
Likewise, unforgiveness can cause us to harbor a deep root of bitterness within us. We need to understand roots not only run deep but also spread. In like manner, bitterness that stems from unforgiveness has a way of spreading into every area of your life. It hinders you from giving your children and spouse the love they need. It makes you impossible to get along with on the job. It alienates you from friends and associates. It even affects your health and how you feel about yourself.
The major role of the kidneys is to remove waste from your blood and eliminate it in your urine. If the kidney does not do its job the waste that is not removed poisons other areas of your body. Allow forgiveness to be the kidney of your soul. Forgiveness will remove the resentment, hostility, malice and hatred from your heart. Get it out of you! Start the process of forgiveness today.
Rev. Phillip Thomas is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Barnwell.
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