This devotion is a monthly ministry of the Pee Dee Baptist Association, comprised of 32 Southern Baptist Churches in Dillon and Marlboro Counties. For more information call 843-774-8062.
Featured this month is Rev. Chris Alderman, the pastor of Little Rock Baptist Church, Little Rock.
“The Forgiving Highway”
A piece of friendly advice to all married men on how to live longer: studies show that women who are overweight tend to live longer than the men who mention it to them. Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and by it many be defiled.” There are 4 things that are true for all of us: 1. Everybody has been hurt; maybe not to the same degree or in the same way, but all have been hurt. 2. These hurts can turn into bitterness; they don’t have to, but if we rehearse and relive them they will turn into bitterness. 3. God tells us to respond to these hurts with grace. It’s not just a matter of going forward to the altar and getting rid of it. In fact, there’s nothing in this Bible passage about getting rid of the hurt or bitterness through a one-time act. Which brings us to number 4. Dealing with these hurts is not a one-time act but an exercise that must be repeated every time the hurt “springs up”. In the Christian life, we are told in I Timothy 4:7 to “exercise thyself unto godliness.” When we “exercise” ourselves DAILY in the Word, prayer, loving our enemies, and dying to ourselves, it’s much easier for the Holy Spirit to direct us. However, it is difficult to forgive, especially if we didn’t do anything wrong of the person who hurt us doesn’t apologize for the wrong her or she’s done. Which brings up the question: Who takes the initiative in forgiving, the one who caused the hurts or the one who was offended? Matthew 5:23,24, “Therefore, if thou bring they gift to the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” In this case, the offender is to take the initiative to make things right. Even if I haven’t done anything wrong, nut he thinks I have, then go make it right. It is a higher priority to the Lord that we make peace with others before we worship Him in church or give our gifts at the altar. Matthew 18:15, “Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou has gained thy brother.” In this case, the offended brother is to take the initiative to make things right. As Christians, we are to be in the habit of meeting one another on the “Forgiving Highway”. Never sit idly by and wait for someone to come to you. Whether we are the offender or the offended, the Lord has commanded that we initiate the process of making peace with all men. If we don’t forgive others, we will have “failed of the grace of God” and two things happen: It troubles us and defiles others. The good news is that we don’t have to continue to live in the failure of bitterness and trouble. Ephesians 4:31,32, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving on another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you.” The “Forgiving Highway” has been paved with the blood of the Lord Jesus and built in the shape of a cross. In order to travel upon it, one must be born again. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Hope to see you on that road!