You took the high road, made a sacrificial choice, and seemed to lose while the other guy played dirty and made some gains because of it. Sound like your life? Then you might be encouraged by one of history’s greatest sermons, preached by One who knew quite personally what it felt like to make sacrificial choices and seemingly lose in the short run.
Yesterday, I had a phone call with a young leader convinced he was no longer qualified to lead because he’d messed up in a way that pretty much every man on the planet has messed up repeatedly. This morning, I received an email from a Pastor wanting to know if he was qualified to lead when he still struggles with sins of the heart and mind.
True love – God’s kind of love – is both possible and impossible at the same time. It’s possible to love people the way God does when we’re living under His truth and grace and in His power. We know this because He commands us to love and defines it for us in explicit terms, and He never commands us to do that which He will not also enable us to do.
We all have a past. It’s filled with proud moments, and not-so-proud moments. It contains joy and pain, and we are continually tempted to live in it. But God wired us to face the future, to think forward, to live for today and tomorrow and leave yesterday behind. Paul put it this way,
This week, I’m staying in a nice hotel in Ocala, Florida, driving around in a rented Camaro, and eating fresh fruit – all sweet gifts from The Church at the Springs where Pastor Ron Sylvia and others are hosting Nuts & Bolts, a conference for church planters. I feel very blessed to be here. I don’t deserve it.
Just this morning, a book came across my desk, Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You, and I devoured it in a matter of hours, not because it was an “easy read” but because it shares a compelling story that rarely gets talked about – what happens to people who consume or produce pornography, and how they can find hope and help.
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There’s a scene in The Lion King I really like when the old wise monkey hits Simba in the head with his cane. Simba demands, “Hey, why’d you do that?” The monkey replies, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that!
If there’s a command in the Bible that’s difficult to keep, it’s the repeated command to forgive others. It’s really tough. As you look at the model prayer of Jesus, He encourages us to express our forgiveness to others in light of the fact that we’ve been forgiven of so much.