Michael B Linton

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Okay, it's time.

It's time for me to forgive. I pray this isn't just lip-service to the idea, but truly forgiveness. I forgive the men who fired me. I let it go.

This isn't easy. I still have to drive by the church and see the new construction that my salary, in part, is paying for. It still hurts. But I have to let it go. I have to let it go for me.

Tonight, our pastor continued a series he's been preaching on the Lord's prayer. The phrase we are on is "forgive our debts as we have forgiven our debtors". He pointed out that the word for 'debts' is translated 'sin' in Luke. I cannot forgive the sin that was done to me - only God can forgive the sin. I can, however, forgive the hurt that it caused me. In so doing, I in turn can be forgiven the sins that I have comitted in this whole process. Allow me to expound.

Obviously, losing the only source of income you have immediately presents a financial bind. Duh. However, a portion of our current financial struggle is our own doing. We banked on the future we anticipated, and failed to properly handle our finances in the midst of financial blessing. So now, we are in worse shape than we might have been. That is our fault. That was our sin. We fully admit that and I have personally confessed that and asked for forgiveness.

Here's the issue: I had not forgiven the men who fired me. Therefore, I don't believe I have experienced the full forgiveness for financial sins we made. Did I lose my salvation? No. Was there ultimate forgiveness at the cross? Yes. Did this sin nullify the forgiveness purchased at the cross? No. What it did do was create a wall between me and God. I could not experience the fullness of that forgiveness until I forgave. Now I can.

Two warnings come with this, however. First, there is always the assumption, by some, that this is only apparent forgiveness. I'm doing it to fool you, the reader, or God. Well, God isn't fooled. Turns out, He knows me pretty well. You, the reader, can believe what you will. I can't prove it to you. But know that this blog does not exist for me to put on spiritual airs and attempt to impress you with my holiness. That is not the type of pastor that I am. I'm real. I struggle. I fail. I fall. I don't have it all figured out. To quote an author I'm currently reading, I'm a person in need of change helping people in need of change. My prayer is that when I learn, you learn.

The second warning is that forgiveness for my sin does not necessarily mean I get a get-out-of-jail-free card. I do not anticipate a check in the mail tomorrow clearing us of all our financial problems. I don't believe it works that way. What it does is clear my relationship with God. I am now able to hear Him again. I am able to accurately respond to His leadership through both church planting and the financial maze we have created. Do I still hope for a miracle? Absolutely. Do I hope my forgiveness leads to it? Certainly. Do I think I deserve it? No. Do I deserve anything? No, unless it's condemnation. But Romans says I don't get that either. I'm forgiven.

So I'm moving on. There will still be some hurt, some anger, a good bit of mistrust, but this will dissipate. Especially as I pray for the ones that wounded me. So here's the proof, you doubting Thomases: if the ones who hurt me read this, or hear of this, call me. You know my number. Allow me to tell you I forgive you and that God meant this for good. That would be a far cry from what I planned to tell you if I ever saw you again.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Michael--I have been praying for y'all so much over the last few months. I can't imagine dealing with what is truly a deep betrayal on so many levels. I am so grateful that you have been able to forgive. To do that is beyond difficult. Can't wait to see y'all in Colorado.