We are living in a world where nothing seems to be “business as usual” any more. Life here in America is becoming increasingly unpredictable, and it looks as if we are heading for some hard times. In order to weather the coming storms, we need to get spiritually and emotionally prepared BEFORE they hit us.

We are living in a world where people in positions of power and influence seriously say that you cannot tell whether a person is a man or a woman by looking at their anatomy or by checking their DNA. That is a staggering degree of denying reality. Of refusing to deal with facts and logic. It is literally delusional. How in the world can people like that deal realistically with practical matters? And they are in high level positions in our government. And they are also in the media, in the court system, in the educational system, etc.

In addition, some psychiatrists and psychologists say that any Bible-believing Christian is mentally ill because of their faith. For example, Dr. Paul Brandwein is a leading child psychologist. In his book “The Social Sciences,” Dr. Brandwein said: “Every child who believes in God is mentally ill.” That’s the same approach that psychologists and psychiatrists had in Soviet Russia.

On top of that, gross immorality has become so commonplace that some people now openly boast about doing the kinds of things that would have been used to blackmail people a generation ago. And I’m not just talking about rebellious teenagers here. I’m talking about adults, including people with power and influence.

That combination of delusion, immorality, and anti-Christian bias is going to cause serious problems for people. It’s going to result in a lot of unnecessary suffering – especially for Christians. And therefore, we are going to need to do a lot of forgiving.

On a practical note, forgiving people does NOT mean letting them get away with doing evil, destructive things. Not at all.  We can (and should) fight against evil. The same God who told us to forgive also told us to hate evil. The Bible says, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” (Psalm 97:10)

Jesus made it very clear that no matter what anybody has done to us, we have to forgive them. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gave His disciples the Lord’s Prayer. That includes saying “forgive us our debts, AS we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12). And after that, Jesus said,

        14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:        15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

You can’t get much more obvious than that. Jesus made it very clear that we must forgive. That does not come naturally, but if we are willing to obey God, then He will enable us to do it.

If forgiving is difficult for us, then we are in good company. Because it was also difficult for the Disciples.

Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith like a mustard seed (which is quite small) then they could do amazing things. Do you remember the context for that conversation? Jesus had just told the disciples that they had to forgive, and keep on forgiving.

        Luke 17:3-6 King James Version (KJV)        3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.        4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.        5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.        6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

When Jesus told His disciples to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” we have no record that they asked Him to increase their faith. (See Matthew 10:6-8.) And in addition, Jesus said that He was sending them out “as sheep in the midst of wolves.” (See Matthew 10:16-17.) Therefore it appears that really forgiving people was more difficult for the Disciples than doing the kinds of supernatural things that they had seen Jesus do. And it was also more difficult than being in constant danger (like sheep who are surrounded by wolves).

A good starting point for forgiving can be to ask God to make us willing and able to forgive. In especially difficult cases, we may have to begin by asking God to make us willing to be willing to forgive. That’s what Corrie ten Boom had to do when it came to forgiving the Nazi guards at the concentration camp where she and her sister Betsy suffered so much.

Our nation is heading for some very difficult things. Therefore, we will need to be guided by God, to have Him show us what to do and what to say.

If we fail to forgive, then we are rebelling against God and what He clearly told us to do.  In addition, we are quenching the Holy Spirit, who keeps nudging us to do what God told us to do in the Bible. And that does NOT put us in a good position to be guided by God. Or to be able to receive His grace to go through whatever we will have to go through in the future.

Because we are heading for hard times, we need to be spiritually and emotionally prepared ahead of time. One important form of preparation is to develop our “forgiveness muscles.” To use hurtful things that have been done to us (and to people we love) as opportunities to learn how to forgive more quickly and more thoroughly.

We need to keep growing closer to God. And to keep becoming more and more obedient to what He has told us to do in the Bible. Because if we fail to do that, then we will not be spiritually and emotionally prepared for the difficult things that are coming.

Forgiving is an essential part of our spiritual and emotional preparation. And Tommy Walker has a beautiful song about forgiving. Therefore, please take the following song to heart.  (A link is below, followed by the words.) I’ve been singing along with it over and over – making it my own prayer.

Maria

I Let Them Go
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSl42qpwJjA

All my hurts, all my fears
All my tears that brought me here
I let ’em go, I lay ’em down,
I let ’em go

All my worries, all my griefs
All my offenses, wrongs done to me
By Your grace, I lay ’em down
I let ‘em go

You said You’re close to the broken hearted
To cast my cares upon Your feet
So all my burdens, I lay them down now
To the One who cares for me

Because Your blood was shed for me
I can forgive and be set free
By Your grace I can lay these hurts down
I can let ‘em all go

You were despised, alone, rejected
A man of sorrows and such grief
My deepest pain You understand
You were pierced to bring me peace

All my hurts, all my fears
All my tears that brought me here
I let ’em go, I lay ’em down,
I let ’em go

Through Your blood that freely flowed
I let ‘em go
By the power of Your grace and of Your love
I cast ‘em down

I let ‘em go, I lay ’em down
I let them go

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