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Monday, October 5, 2020

Something You Should Never Say

By Joe Chesser

     People say bad things all the time.  I cringe inside when I hear people use God’s name in inappropriate ways (“God” is often joked about, or used as a curse word, or most often merely as a common, ordinary expression of surprise – OMG!).  God’s name is holy and should never be used in these ways (Exodus 20:7).  I also hate to hear people use vulgar, crude curse words in jokes, anger or just in daily conversations (I’ll not give examples of this).  God says to talk in this way is as out of place as sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3-4).
     But there’s another phrase that people use that should never be said.  I’ve heard it said in a variety of situations.  Sometimes it’s said when a marriage or a friendship goes sour.  Sometimes it’s said when a tragic, personal injury has been inflicted.  I’ve even heard it said by people at church in reaction to some ungodly action or words.  It’s very likely that you also have heard someone say after being deeply hurt by what another person said or did. What is said is, “I will never forgive him for that!  I just can’t!”
     I shudder when I hear people say that! Not because the words themselves are so bad, but because of what those words say about a person’s heart and how he views God. We live in a cruel world.  Satan is all around us doing evil things through people all the time.  I mean really bad things: murdering children, beating a wife, stealing your life’s savings through fraud, splitting churches, slandering reputations, hurting others while driving drunk, etc.  But we should never think, feel or say, “I can never forgive him for that!”  That’s a reaction that only Satan wants us to have.  And if we harbor hatred and unforgiveness in our hearts, we are the one who will suffer the most.  It will eat us up!
     I marvel at the heart of Joseph (Genesis 37-50).  Because his brothers’ hearts were filled with hatred and jealousy toward him, they sold him as a slave to foreign traders. Eventually he was bought by Potiphar in Egypt.  However, when Potiphar’s wife lied about him, he was put in prison and forgotten.  Much later, through the providence of God, Joseph’s brothers came humbly before him begging for help.  If Joseph had been like many of us, hatred would have so filled his heart at what they had done to him that he would have jumped at the chance for revenge.  Instead he had a heart for God; he had a heart filled with forgiveness. What others intended as evil, Joseph saw God’s goodness.
     Even in the worst of circumstances a person can choose to let God’s love and forgiveness rule their hearts.  It’s not easy.  Nobody ever says forgiveness is easy. Just ask Jesus on the cross! It’s easier to scream and cry, to hate and retaliate.  But, if we let God’s love rule our hearts and with that love find the strength to forgive, we’ll find a peace that goes beyond description (Philippians 4:6-7).  Like Joseph, we’ll rise above the evil around us into the heart of God.  “I forgive you” is something we will never regret saying!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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