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Getting Over It – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2024 1:00 am

Getting Over It – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 30, 2024 1:00 am

When someone attacks us, we want to attack back or run away. What would it take to give up the offense done against us? In this message, Pastor Lutzer illustrates the power of forgiving others in the name of Jesus, and for our own healing. The Bible runs counter to our basic instincts.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Sometimes every instinct we have runs counter to what the Bible says to do. That's especially true of reconciliation. When someone attacks us, we want to attack back.

But the Bible says, bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Today, some hard lessons on resolving conflict. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is it true that in seeking reconciliation, we're really handing our disputes to a higher court than we have on earth?

I think that that definitely is true. That would be very scriptural. Of course, we should always seek reconciliation. Reconciliation honors God. As I like to point out, when Jesus made the statement that were two or three are gathered together, I am there in the midst. He was talking about reconciliation. But I need to say to everyone who is listening today, that when you are sinned against, do not sin in return. We must give the matter to God.

I believe this very deeply. And today is the last day we're making available a resource that we think will help you navigate all of these issues. It's entitled, When You've Been Wronged, Moving From Bitterness to Forgiveness. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. And here's what you do.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now at the end of this message, I'm going to give you a quote from this book. The quote actually comes from someone else that takes a deep dive into our own hearts and speaks to us about the deceitfulness of sin. No wonder reconciliation is so difficult.

So you hang on, listen carefully, and then at the end, take this opportunity to get this book today. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. What is it easier to do? To rejoice with those who rejoice or to weep with those who weep? If this were a classroom, I'd ask you for a response. Just shout it out.

What is it easier to do? Many of you are saying rejoice. I disagree with you. It is easy to weep with those who weep. I mean, somebody is going through a tragedy and your heart goes out to them and you can weep with them. That's pretty easy. The hard part is rejoicing with those who rejoice. Somebody calls you on the phone and says, guess what?

I just got $4 million in, in the mail because of my uncle's estate has been settled. Let's go out for a hamburger tonight and celebrate. Oh, sure. Of course.

And then you go out for the hamburger and then he says at the end, now why don't we just split the cost? I'll tell you, it is hard to rejoice with those who rejoice. Let's suppose you're in a department in a bank or some work area and you think that you should get the next promotion and you are convinced that you're more qualified than your colleague and your colleague gets the promotion and you don't. All right now, folks, all those of you who hollered how easy it is to rejoice with those who rejoice. Are you going to rejoice with them?

Are you going to say that that is wonderful? Do you know what it's going to happen if that happens in heaven? You say, well, that won't happen in heaven because if I'm more qualified, I'm going to get the promotion. Don't be so sure because Jesus might have a different opinion as to how qualified you are, but I believe that Jonathan Edwards is absolutely right. When he says in heaven, when we see people exalted above us, we will rejoice as if their exaltation were our own. You say, preacher, you're making the bar very, very high.

Yes, I am. We're talking about something that can only be done by the Spirit, can't be done in the flesh. It is so contrary. Most of us want to weep when our enemy rejoices and we want to rejoice when our enemy is weeping. We love to hear something, some tragedy happened to our enemy and it feels so good.

He had it coming to him. It's the way of the flesh. It's not the way of the Spirit.

How do we do it? We do it in harmony with one another. Paul says, live in harmony. Verse 16, do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, never be conceited. That is really the answer is when we're prideful, we are conceited. And it's conceit that makes us rejoice when our enemy is weeping. And so that's the second way by the way in which we feel. And you say, well, how do we develop those feelings?

It's through yieldedness and submission and spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us because this is totally contrary to who we are. How do we respond then to those who are making life miserable?

The people at work who are not committed to your happiness. How do we respond to them? Number one, by what we say, we bless those who curse. We bless those who wish to destroy us. We, we, by what we feel, we feel with people. We rejoice with those who rejoice and we weep with those who weep. And third, by what we do, by what we do.

Verse 17, repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Don't get even the bumper sticker. You know, I don't get mad. I get even.

No, no, no, no. That's the way of the world. Most bumper stickers are the way of the world. You don't say I'm going to do to you before you do to me. That's not what you say because you believe in God. And then, you know, in the Old Testament, it said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. And the reason that was said is not that people would get justice, but it was a law to try to restrain vengeance. That if somebody took one eye out so that you wouldn't blind them by taking both eyes out. That's vengeance. Vengeance is kind of a destroying kind of justice where I'm going to go and I'm going to make it right now.

Notice what the text says. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Is it sometimes impossible? Of course, it's sometimes impossible. There are impossible people.

Now, maybe you've never met an impossible person, but they do exist out there somewhere. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room. Leave it to the wrath of God. Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.

Wow. You want vengeance and you're personally going to take vengeance when that happens and you want it so badly. You are denying the two attributes of God. You're saying that God doesn't love me.

He doesn't care about me and he is unjust. God is going to let this slip by as it says in Isaiah 40 where the Jews were saying the justice do me has escaped the attention of my God. There's no justice in the world and God isn't doing a thing about it. No vengeance is mine. I will recompense, says the Lord. Leave it to me and if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he's thirsty, give him something to drink for by so doing it, you will heat burning coals on his head. That's a Middle East expression where somebody was repenting and somebody was acknowledging their guilt and their sin and they were in a state of almost shame and contrition. They would put coals on their head as an indication of their shame and their contrition.

Do good to them. I remember out on the farm many, many years ago and it is many, many years ago. I don't know if I told you or not, but the other day I was lying on the couch and Rebecca said to me, you know, I get nervous when a man of your age isn't moving. We had a neighbor who was one of these impossible neighbors in the fall when the fields were free and combining had taken place. Some of our cattle would be allowed to run wild to run free.

That's a better way to put it. And if they got on his, on his land, even though they weren't doing any harm, it was just, it was a big to do. He had issues, you know, he had issues. Well, one day some of his horses got loose and they were on our, our territory. And I remember how kindly we, we caught them and we took them back without a word, without a word.

And you could see he was feeling a little sheepish. You heap coals of fire on his head because you leave the vengeance to God. Now, of course, God has set up government and so forth. And as a result of that, the government takes care of certain crimes and so forth.

And we should most assuredly assure that. But, but in the Bible, right from the beginning, that's why God put a mark on Cain. God did not want individual vengeance to be, to be the norm.

When government is established, government takes care of certain issues and God takes care of certain issues, but never personal vengeance. One day I was riding in the car and I was listening to WLS. It was just that one time that I didn't have a dial to moody radio.

Just that once. And a woman by the name of Roma, she and her husband are on WLS every morning. She read something that she had written in a red book. Evidently, I've not heard this too often, but she always has some really word of wisdom every morning.

It's called the red book. Don't know exactly what that is, but what she said and what she wrote was so good. We contacted her and said, you know, would you send it?

And so she very graciously sent it with a very kind note. It's entitled, do you harbor resentment? Then you are poisoning your own meal at life's banquet table. Imagine your mind as a little shop of horrors, a kind of museum filled with relics of all of the injustices and harm you've ever endured. Each exhibit depicts your memory of what someone did or didn't do that hurt you. Brightly illuminated by your resentment, every exhibit has a soundtrack echoing with loud, angry, accusing voices. The walls are covered with horrible instruments of punishment and long lists of penalties to be inflicted on your wrongdoers.

And coding everything is a thick, clinging residue of self-pity that keeps you from moving along to the new futures wing of your museum where exhibits are filled with pleasure and joy and possibilities. Can you imagine what it would be like to be locked permanently inside such a chamber of horrors of hate and resentment? If you are unable to forgive others for real or imagined wrongs, then your own horror chamber exists within you. That chamber of ill will is your mind.

And what a price you pay for maintaining such a museum of resentment. The negative reliving of your past stokes anger, resentment, and seething hostility. It also turns your mind against itself.

It's like a poison to your soul. The simple, profound truth is that the entire horror shop crumbles if you simply forgive. By forgiving others, you forgive yourself, you gain self-esteem, and you free your own spirit to soar to new heights. There's no time to waste. Now is the time to stop the pain of the past from poisoning the joys of your present and future. Decide to forgive and then let go. Lay it down.

Lay it down. I happened to email this illustration to someone and this morning on my computer there was a response from this woman that I'd like to read to you because it's a reminder that forgiveness is not just an act, it's a process. This is what she said. There was such a chamber in my soul and the pain etched itself deep into the grooves of my mind. A godly person helped me to bridge the way to the new futures wing of my life's museum. Her soul care advised that my pain needed a voice. In other words, that she had to speak her pain. As long as I ignored the pain, it was like looking into a mirror and not seeing a reflection of something that was very real.

Now notice, this is maybe what some have to do who are listening today. So one day I had a funeral service for my dreams of childhood that died and the loving ideas I had about my mom and dad. I had to die to those. The reality was that my mom and dad left bleeding lashes on the face of my soul. That day I took flowers to the chosen grave site and a candle. I placed the flowers on the ground and blew out the candle of hope. The hope that my parents would rise to meet me at the level of my dream.

She had to blow that candle out. I invited God to the ceremony that day and shed my tears in his presence. I knew the pain would echo into the future in days to come and so I asked God to just help me suffer well and trust him for how he would redeem my future.

It has been a long obedience in the same direction over many years and God has been faithful indeed. The pain is still there on occasion, but the pain and the anger have lost its power over me. The wound has become a scar because healing has taken place.

There are those of you who as we come to the end of this series of messages, eight times this has been a summary message really eight times you've heard me plead with you to give it up. Give it up in the name of Jesus and for your own healing. You hold the key. You hold the key to your own healing. Give it to Jesus and for those of you who have never trusted Christ as savior, he died so that we could be forgiven that having been forgiven, we now forgive and so we bless those who curse us. We weep with those who weep and we don't touch vengeance.

We leave it to God. Would you join me as we pray? Father, it's been my prayer that the series of messages might be life transforming for many.

You know, the relationships that have been reestablished, you know, the letters that need to be written, the phone calls that need to be made and the funerals that need to be held. And we ask, oh father, that you who are the God of all comfort and grace might come to those who say, this can't be for me because you just don't understand. Well, we may not, but I pray that you will help them to understand that you do. I am the Lord that healeth thee. Do that father, we pray. And for those who have never trusted Christ, who've never experienced the warmth of the father's home and the arms of the father's love, grant today that they may look to Jesus and be saved in his name. Amen.

Amen. Well, this is pastor Luther. Where are you on your spiritual journey? If God has talked to you through the message that you have just heard, I trust that you will talk to God.

Whatever he has said to you, I trust that you will respond with a sense of faith and yieldedness. Today's the last day we're making available to you the book entitled When You've Been Wronged. And we make this book available because we believe it will help you in the process of navigating human relationships. Now, earlier I mentioned that I was going to give you a quote. This is not a quote from me, but it's a quote that I include within the book regarding our own hearts.

Listen carefully. People are prone to overlook their deeply embedded sin because it has an extremely deceptive nature. There exists an interesting correlation between a person's involvement with sin and his awareness of it. The more a person becomes involved in sin, the less he sees of it. Sin is a hideous disease that destroys a person's ability to comprehend its existence.

It could be compared to a computer virus that has the ability to hide its presence from the user, while it systematically destroys the hard drive. Well, the quote continues, sin has the ability to mask itself so well that it can actually make a person who deals with at least think he is the most spiritual. I don't know about you, but that really penetrates my heart. As I mentioned, we are making this book available to you.

We think it will help you in your spiritual journey. Sure hope that you have a pen or pencil because I'm going to be giving you some info as to how this resource can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, as I've already emphasized, because this is the last day we're making it available, I'm going to be giving you that contact info again.

And thank you so much for helping us financially. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com.

That's rtwoffer.com or pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337. The name of the book when you've been wronged. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. There are several theological understandings on the grand scheme of God's dealings with mankind.

Peter listens to Running to Win and holds the dispensational position. He wrote with this question, could you speak on the age of grace? I've been taught that the four gospels are written to the Jews with a kingdom message that is not directly for us in this time of grace. By keeping the messages separate, things seem to make more sense. But as I talk to my brothers in Christ, I seem to be in the minority.

Pastor Lutzer, what do you think? Peter, you've asked an excellent question and there's no way that I can possibly give you a comprehensive answer. In fact, maybe all that I can do is to raise your curiosity and ask you to think about it and maybe you'll even have more questions about this. But first of all, let me say that the gospel of the kingdom as proclaimed by John the Baptist, for example, and by Jesus is not the same as the gospel of grace. Because the gospel of the kingdom did not include anything about the death of Jesus Christ, it seemed to be related to the Old Testament kingdom that God had promised, where indeed repentance was necessary, but grace, as you and I understand it, was not found there. There was grace, but it was a different kind of revelation regarding grace, let me put it that way.

So the answer is that there is a distinction and I have to agree with you. On the other hand, we should not say that the gospels don't apply to us. They certainly apply to us in principle, and not only that, when Jesus spoke about people coming to him and having the privilege of receiving eternal life, when he said, he who believes on me shall be saved, that is the gospel of grace. So in the gospels, you do see the beginnings of the revelation of the doctrine of grace, which later on the apostle Paul picks up and he explains it in a lot more detail.

So bottom line, I think you're right. There is a difference between the gospels and the epistles. Many of us believe that the church began in Acts chapter 2, and so we have letters in the New Testament that are much more directly applicable to the church than some of the things in the four gospels. But sorting it all out and being true to the Bible, as I know you want to be, is a very challenging project.

I encourage you to read some books on the subject and get clear on what the different possibilities are. Peter, thank you for that perceptive question, and Pastor Lutzer for that perceptive answer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can. Go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Maybe it's newly discovered multiple genders or pushing crazy ideas like men can become pregnant. No doubt about it, the family, as God designed it, is under massive attack. Next time, don't miss the beginning of a series on reclaiming the family. We'll begin with The Mystique of Motherhood. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-30 02:14:40 / 2024-05-30 02:23:18 / 9

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