By: G.J. Fortier
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
Yes, I do. I forget all the time. I call myself a Christian—that is, a follower of Jesus Christ—and yet, I forget.
How can I? Easy.
Here are some of the ways:
I get angry. Angry at my family, at my friends, my coworkers, my church, my brothers and sisters. I get angry in traffic, at the grocery store, when I’m shopping online, at my computer, at my job. Let’s face it … I am just an angry person.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 (NIV)
Oh, and I’m obnoxious. Yup … I’m obnoxious to my family, to my friends, to my co-workers, to my church, to my brothers and sisters. I’m obnoxious in traffic, at the grocery store, when I’m shopping online, to my computer (I’m not sure how I can be obnoxious to a computer, but I’m sure that I am), while I’m at my “job”. Let’s face it … I am just an obnoxious person. My biggest problem is that most people, especially and understandably those who don’t know me well … but those who do too … don’t understand my humor. I have a very, very, very dry (British—Monty Python) kind of sarcastic humor. Nothing makes me giggle more than when I tell someone something and they have to take a moment, cock their head to one side, and wonder for a few seconds (more than a few is dangerous) whether I just insulted them or simply made a “funny” that was in poor taste.
“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind. But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison.” James 3:7-8 (NIV)
And I also get scared. I get scared about things that I have absolutely no control over. I get scared when I’m feeling bad, when my joints hurt, when I think about my bills, my mortgage, my car payment, my credit cards, and whether I’ll continue to be able to pay for them. Oh yeah, and I’m scared of other people. I get scared about my family, my friends, my coworkers, my church, my brothers and sisters. I’m scared of the people in traffic, at the grocery store, the people online, my computer. Basically, I’m scared of everything and everyone. Fear, I think, is the worst of these things.
Fear, if not overcome, can destroy even the strongest person. But those who triumph over fear can achieve anything … so long as they go about it in the right way.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)
Are you starting to see a pattern here?
We all do it.
We all get angry. We simply can’t help it. It’s in our nature. While some anger is justified, the majority isn’t.
We can all be obnoxious. We all let slip things that are foolish, or cruel, or thoughtless. We all say things that the people around us, the people we are supposed to love, take differently than we intended.
We all suffer fear. We worry. We fret. We allow life’s hardships, or even the possibility of hardship, to gnaw away at us. We might even allow “what might be” to overwhelm us.
These are all examples of things that we need to repent of. Because there is a right way to deal with each of these occurrences.
So, what’s the right way? I’m so glad you asked!
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things. Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who, then, is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
“… neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 8:31-35, 39 (NIV)
I asked a question in the title: Do you ever forget? What I’m asking is: Do you ever forget that you have chosen to be Christ’s representative? Have you forgotten that you are the only Jesus that some people may ever get to see? Do you forget that your behavior is what some people will believe is indicative of who and what Christians are?
We need to repent, pure and simple. We are weak and flawed, it’s true. But we are the weak and flawed children of our Father in Heaven. The same Father who sacrificed His one and only Son as punishment for, and acceptance of, the consequences of every sin that has ever been, or ever will be committed by you, by me, and everyone else. Period!
It sounds simple … and it really is. In many cases though, the thing that separates us from forgiveness is …
Pride is such an ugly word when we attach it to, or rather, when we allow it to keep us from the forgiveness that Jesus Christ provided for us 2,000 years ago! But you must also, always remember this:
Asking forgiveness when we sin against our brothers and sisters, ourselves, or God is MEANINGLESS without repentance! We must own what we’re asking forgiveness for and then do everything in our power not to repeat our sins!
Otherwise … we will not be forgiven. Period.
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his novels on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.