The Bag Of Flour

 "Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven time?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.' " Matthew 18:21-22....."Forgiveness is God's gift to us to live in a world that's not fair." Sheila Walsh

 

Sheila Walsh tells the story of her young son's struggle with a friend whose actions had caused him much pain and anger. He told her that not only would he cease to have him as a friend and never forgive him, but that he would no longer pray for him as well. Walsh then asked him to go for a walk with her, but first told him to go to the kitchen and get the large sack of flour just purchased that day. She told him he was to carry that sack as they walked. Being only 7 years old, the flour was an increasingly heavy load for him. Not far into the walk, he asked his mother if he could put the flour down, but she refused, asking him to continue to carry it. They went on, but soon reached a point where, exhausted, he couldn't carry it further, and had to set it down. It was at that point that she said unforgiveness in his heart did the same thing to his spirit that the sack of flour had done to his body. At some point, it has to be let go because we can go no further with it. Unforgiveness is a burden that will cripple us every time....no matter how hard we try to hide it, deny it, or justify it.

As Walsh says, we live in an unfair world. People often don't treat as they should. Difficult people can abound in our lives. They inflict wounds, often deep, upon us. At times they're unintentional. Many times they're not. The desire of the flesh is to get even, to punish, to force an accounting. I know. I've been there. So have you. I've carried the sack of flour, and been crippled by its weight. So have you. Maybe you are right now. At what point will we be willing to put the sack down, to let it go? When will we release the burden of the grudge we have carried so long? When will we finally have rest from it?

Peter was very aware of the fact he lived in an unfair world. He was willing to forgive....up to a point. He thought seven times more than generous. Jesus disagreed. The number He used, seven times seventy wasn't meant to be goal. He meant for Peter to see that there should never be a limit to our forgiveness of others. No matter how many "bags of flour" they may put upon us, we must to forgive. We have to be free of the flour. Otherwise it will kill us....slowly but surely.

There was a time when I struggled with a very large "bag of flour." I harbored great bitterness towards someone, and to the point that the very thought of them brought a sourness to my spirit. A sourness that hindered my walk with Him as well as blunted any spiritual progress. I justified, denied, and tried to keep it hidden, sometimes all at once. Yet finally, He brought me to a place where to have His life, I had to let it go from my life. I began to pray and speak forgiveness to this one. Let me say, I did not feel that forgiveness at all. Yet, by His grace, I willed to forgive, and continued to pray that forgiveness every day, and every time angry thoughts about them came to mind. It took time, but He worked through all the layers of anger and bitterness until the point came where I felt and experienced the giving of the forgiveness I had been speaking. It also brought to me a deeper sense of His mercy to me and my own need of His forgiveness. It was not any easy path. His way never is, but it is the only way to His wholeness.

Unfair people and actions continue to happen. Wounds continue to come. For you and for me. Our choice is, will we continue to carry the weight of them until we reach the place where we cannot go on, or, will we surrender them, and the people who have committed them to Him? Forgiveness. The healing, cleansing and freedom may not happen all at once, but it will happen...... What's your bag of flour? Will you let it go?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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