"Forgiveness is God's greatest gift to you."
- Why does God demand that we forgive others, just as he forgives us?
- If there's any speck of bitterness hidden in your heart, what do you need to do to deal with that bitterness today?
00:06 You ever wake up in the morning with a great big suitcase, tied to your back that's full of barbells and you just can't seem to get through your day? Man, I've got a Bible verse for you today that I think is going to help immensely and helping get the backpack off your back. You'll feel just as free as the spring wind when you get the backpack off your back. Listen to this. Second Corinthians chapter 2, verse 9-10. It says this, "the reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven, if there was anything to forgive, I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake."
01:03 I'll never forget the chairlift ride in Park Cities, Utah with a counselor from our summer camp. Her name was Emily. She was a beautiful, bright eyed athlete from West Virginia. But beneath those beautiful bright eyes and that beautiful smile that just made the Utah Rocky mountains glow like a sunrise, was this heart of bitterness, this heart of just hatred and anger. And, but I'm so glad it was a long chairlift because something happened on that chairlift that I'm sure will change Emily's life forever. You see, Emily's mom had taken off with the choir leader from the school and it left Emily and her dad broken and in shambles. Emily was so bitter at her mom and the backpack she carried on her back was heavy because bitterness is probably the greatest burden that anybody can ever carry in their life. But, somewhere on that chairlift, Emily forgave her mom. And you know what, when she went skiing off that chairlift and I went snowboarding with my kids in the other direction, that little girl was finally free; free of a backpack of weights that she'd been carrying for years.
02:23 I remember another young man who came to our campus, his name was JD, and he was so bitter. He was so mad. His mom had died of cancer and he was bitter at God. He was doing just all kinds of drugs. But, somewhere during the term of that camp, he and I became friends and JD forgave. JD cleaned his backpack. JD looked at the God that he was mad and bitter at, and he saw the love of God who had come to this earth to die for his mom so his mom could go to heaven. You know, today JD is the most happily married man you've ever seen your life. He's actually living in the slums of Cairo, Egypt, intentionally giving his life to lead people in the Muslim world to Christ.
03:15 Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give, not just to somebody that you're bitter at, but it's the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Here's the questions for today. You know, Emily's sparkling eyes and contagious smile was the result of an unbridled, bitter-free heart. Why was her trip up the mountain, forgiveness, the most important trip up the mountain in her life? And then, here's a great question. Why does God demand that we forgive others, just as he forgives us? And then, men, get honest with this question. If there's any speck of bitterness hidden in your heart, what do you need to do to deal with that bitterness today? And the thought for the day is this. Forgiveness is God's greatest gift to you and it's your greatest gift to him and your greatest gift to your family.