How To Survive The Worst Day Ever – Part 1
Well, today, we’re kicking off a brand new teaching series that we’re calling Worst Case Scenario. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that when we planned on the series over a year ago, it would be on this weekend of all weekends. But this series idea comes from a game I love to play. It’s called the Worst Case Scenario Survivors Edition. And the tagline is of the series, really of the book is the game is how to Survive your Worst day Ever.
Does anybody ever play this game? Worst Case Scenario yet? Not very many. None of you. All right, you’re missing it. It’s like one of my favorite games to play. I love this game. In fact, when we first got married, I bought the travel edition of this game so Bekah and I could play it together on road trips together. And it’s basically a game where it puts you in different worst-case scenario situations, and you got to try to figure out what you would do in that situation. And I’m kind of honestly, I’m kind of a hope for the best, but plan for the worst kind of guy.
Anybody else out there like me, that’s just kind of how I’m wired. And so I love this game, but Bekah hates it because it’s antithetical to every fiber of her hippie-ish nothing bad is ever going to happen. Even if it does, everything’s going to work out and be okay approach to life. But she still plays it with me just to have fun on a car ride. And for me, it’s just like my jam.
All kinds of different, like how to escape from quicksand. Right. That’s valuable information, right? Here’s another one. What would you do if you were locked in the trunk of a moving car? I’m just saying, what would you do if you were chased by a gorilla? Friends, you got to know this stuff. What would you do? How to survive if your parachute Fails to Open? It’s right here on page 265. Although I would never jump out of a good airplane with a parachute, I mean, this is stuff you should know. So I love this game, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat of a hypochondriac. Are any other hypochondriacs out there?
Or maybe you’re married to one. You live with one if you don’t know what a hypochondriac is. A hypochondriac is someone who just kind of lives with this abnormal concern over health issues. We just walk around thinking like we are walking around with some undiagnosed health issue. Let me explain for me.
In my case, some years ago had gone on a mission trip to one of our compassion partners in a third-world country. And before I left, I got really sick and had to go on a round of antibiotics. And I recovered, and I was able to make the trip. And then, while I was there, everything went well until the very last night. I went to my hotel room, and I had to fly out early the next morning.
Well, in the middle of the night, I got deathly ill. I mean, I woke up just profusely sweating violently, just vomiting in and out of the bathroom. It was awful. I called my wife at 03:00 in the morning. My flight was supposed to be at like seven. I said, “I mean, Honey, I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to make it on this flight. I just don’t know if I’m going to make it.” She prayed with me. I found some kind of pharmacy and took a little pill. I was able to thankfully get home.
As soon as I got home, I went to the doctor, and I thought something was really seriously wrong. And so I meet with the doctor, and he assuages my fears. He’s like, “Basically, what happened, Dave, is you took that round of antibiotics. He went down there, and your whole immune system was wiped out by those antibiotics. You went down there no defense, and you got even sicker. So I’m going to put you on the steroid and this new round of antibiotics, and we’ll get you feeling better.” I was like, okay, thank God. And so a few days later, after I started the steroid and new round of antibiotics, I’m sitting at my desk doing some work, and all of a sudden my feet are like, on fire.
I’m just like, what in the world? I’ve never had this sensation before. I’m like, I take my shoes off, my socks off, and maybe my feet are just hot. It doesn’t help at all. My feet are still just burning. And this goes on not only for one day but for like two days. I don’t say anything to anyone. And then I make the worst mistake any Hypochondriac can make.
I logged on with my laptop to WebMD, and I put in my symptoms, and there it was, right in front of me. I had Zika virus, which has caused a nervous system problem. And I knew it right there. I had Gillian syndrome, and it was going to require a spinal tap because it ends in paralysis. And I’m just sitting there, I’m freaking out. Like, worst-case scenario, I’m writing letters to my kids. I’m making sure my life insurance speeds up. I’m a mess. And then I make the second-worst mistake you can make.
I sat down with my wife, and I held her hands, I looked at her, and I said, “Honey, I need to tell you something.” I have the Zika virus, and I have Gillian syndrome, which is going to require ending paralysis. It’s going to require a spinal tap.” And she just held my hands, and she said to me, lovingly. She said, “Dave, have you been on WebMD against self-diagnosing?” I said, but yes, this time, I’m right. This time it’s serious. And so she picked up the phone, I went back to see the doctor, and it turned out I didn’t have the Zika virus, and I didn’t have Gillian syndrome. I just had an allergic reaction to the steroid, and everything went away in a few days. But I tell you, that funny, kind of in my mind, worst-case scenario situation.
And it’s funny, but when you get on the other side of things in life, and you really do go through a worst-case scenario situation, how do you survive? How do you survive a really bad day? How do you survive a really bad day? Like when after months. After months. So how do you survive after months of going to counseling and therapy, working on your marriage? It just doesn’t work out. And the day comes when you’re served with those divorce papers. That’s a worst-case scenario situation. It’s a very bad day. How do you survive when your boss calls you into the office and tells you that you’re terminated? How do you survive a really bad day? When your home is foreclosed on, your car is repossessed, it turns out your kids are addicted to drugs, or your teenager turns up pregnant? How do you survive when that relationship that you thought was going to be a matchmade in heaven turns out to be more like hell on Earth?
How do you survive when you fail the test, when you don’t get into the school, when you lose the baby, or when your doctor calls you in to deliver some very legitimate bad news? How do you survive a worst-case scenario? A very bad day? Well, today, as we begin this new series between now and Easter, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to study what Jesus did on his worst-case scenario situation.
On the day his very bad day, when he went to the cross and he gave his life for you and me because it was on that cross. On that very bad day. On the worst-case scenario situation, as Jesus hung there dying on the cross, he said seven different statements. And those seven different statements are going to serve as a framework for us to process. How do we survive our worst-case scenario situations? What should our response be? How do we handle those very bad days? Because the reality of it is that all of us go through really bad days, right? Come on—all of us, right Church. I mean, some of you are going through a really bad day right now. Some of you are living your worst-case scenario situation. Some of you are right. I mean, if the truth is told, we all go through it. And so here’s the theme verse, Hebrews 12:2. This is the verse that we’re going to study together.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and Perfector of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. We’re going to study this scripture together as our theme over the next seven weeks between now and Easter. And here’s my heart for you. Here’s my heart for our Church that over these next seven weeks, we could just fix our eyes on Jesus to see how he handled the worst-case scenario. Many of us were fixing our eyes right now on the wrong things.
We’re filling our minds and our focus on the wrong things, consumed with headlines of what’s happening in the world or what’s happening in our little world. But gang, if we could just come on, get our eyes on Jesus between now and Easter, and we could study, and we can look to him. How did he handle his worst day? How did he survive the worst day ever? Because he is the author and he is the Perfector of our faith. You know it’s Jesus and his Spirit, the Holy Spirit. He’s the one that went to work in your life. He started this thing of faith inside of you. He started you to begin to look to God in your time and me. Come on. Jesus started that. He’s the author of it. He’s the reason you’re in the room today. He’s the reason you’re watching on the other side of the camera today. He’s not only the author, but he’s the Perfector.
Yeah, there are things in me, and there are things in you that aren’t mature yet, that aren’t right yet. And he’s perfecting that. Come on. He’s helping us mature so that we can pursue living a fully surrendered life. Come on. For him today, Church, he’s the author. He’s the Perfector. And it says who for the joy? Who for the joy set before him endured the cross? How did he endure it? How did he endure the brutality and the beatings and the betrayal of the humiliation of the cross? I’ll tell you how it was the joy that was set before him. What was the joy? The joy was you, and the joy was me. See, when he endured his worst day, he wasn’t thinking about himself. Come on. He was thinking about you. He was thinking about you. He was thinking about me. That his sacrifice, laying down his life, and him taking the penalty for our sin would cause us to be set free and to have eternal life. He goes on, and he says, scorning, its shame.
He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Do you want to know where Jesus is right now? You look at what’s happening in the world and say, Where’s Jesus and all this? I’ll tell you where he is. He’s not pacing the floor. Oh, my God. What are we going to do? Oh, my God. What are we going to do? Putin this and then Ukraine that and this in Asia. What are we going to do? God. And he’s not pacing. He’s not even standing. You know what a King does? Who’s in control? They sit. He’s seated. He’s not pacing. He’s not worried. He’s not upset.
He’s not full of fear. He’s not sitting around thinking, wringing his hands full of anxious thoughts. He’s seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Do you know what it also says down in Hebrews? He’s making intercession. You say that’s where he is. What is he doing? He’s making intercession. Do you know that word intercession for you and for me? It’s a legal term referring to an attorney who’s litigating a case. Do you know what Jesus is doing right now? He’s litigating your case to the Father. He’s saying, look, you see that guy right down? You see, Dave? Do you see the problem he’s having?
I’ve had that same problem. Look, I’ve had the same problem Dave’s having. Let’s just help him out a little bit. Come on. Let’s just help him out a little bit. Let’s just help her out a little bit. Let’s help him out. Jesus, come on. He’s mediating you and your relationship with the Father in heaven. Come on. He’s working. He’s praying on your behalf right now. And I love how the message paraphrase puts this verse, Hebrews chapter twelve. I want you to read it. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race. We’re in study how he did it. I love that. On his worst day ever, we’re going to study how he did it. Over these next seven weeks, this week included, we’re going to study how he did it. Many of you know the story that on what is now known as the Holy Week, Jesus, rides into town on a donkey. The people were cheering for him. Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. It wasn’t a religious saying. It was a political saying. They knew what Jesus was going to do.
They were looking to him to be a political savior, conquering King, not a suffering Savior who would go to the cross and lay down his life. No, they were looking for a politician. They were looking for a warrior, a King. And they knew he would ride in through that Eastern gate, and then he would turn right. He’d go down to the fortress of Antonio on the Temple Mount, and he would kick the Romans out because they were sick and tired of their oppression, their persecution.
Do you think that what’s happening today is new? No, it’s all the way back. Instead of turning right to go out of the fortress, bin Tony to throw the Romans out, Jesus goes left, and he goes into the temple, and he throws out the money changers. He flips over tables, and he throws out the money changers. Later that night, he gathers with his twelve disciples, his closest friends, and followers. And he sits down, and he has a meal with them the last supper. And one of his own betrays him, sells him out. And later that night, around 09:00, he’s arrested. He’s put on trial all night long. Three different trials stand before two different Kings, which, by the way, was illegal under Roman law and Jewish law. You could not be tried at night.
And while he’s there, they bring false accusations against him. But he says nothing in return. And after his trial, then he’s beaten, and he’s flogged an inch within his life. And then he’s forced to carry his own cross as they place the Crown of thorns on his head, and they haul him up on top of Calvary, the place of the skull of Golgotha. And they nail him to that cross. And as they hoist that cross up into the hole that they dug in the ground, and that cross falls into the ground, and the full weight of his body hangs on those nails. This is what Jesus said on his worst day ever. Father, forgive them for they do not know what they’re doing. It’s not only amazing that Jesus said that. What’s amazing to me is that it’s the first thing he says.
The first thing, Father, forgive them. They don’t even know what they’re doing here. So here’s the first thing I think if Jesus was here in the flesh, and this is the case I’m trying to make to you today, that Jesus would want to teach you, and he’d want to teach me that if you want to survive your worst day ever, the worst-case scenario situation, the very first thing you have to do in your life is to forgive everyone. It’s trying to ruin your life. Forgive everyone. Come on, just trying to ruin your life. Is it me? I mean, is it just me, or does it seem to you that there are certain people out there like it’s their goal to just try to ruin your life? What is the deal? Is this like your spiritual gifted trying to ruin my life as you went through? You had a spiritual gift assessment, leadership, no gifts of help, no hospitality, no teaching, no ruined Dave’s life. Check. It just seems to me like, in all honesty, like some people, it’s just their spiritual gift, just trying to ruin your life. And Jesus is saying, look, you need to learn how to forgive people who do this kind of stuff, like over and over, you need to learn how to get used to this. This is why he even put it in his Lord’s Prayer, the everyday prayer.
What does he say, Father? Forgive those who trespass against us. Like, I not only need to pray this once in a while, I need to pray this every day. God help me. Forgive everybody’s trying to ruin my life. Even Jesus goes on, he says in Matthew 24:10, and he says, “and then many will be offended.” That word, many in Greek, means the majority. So he’s speaking about us. The majority of us will be offended. We’ll get hurt, the majority of us will get betrayed, and we will hate one another. For some of you like, oh, that’s my life. First, I’ve been offended and hurt. I’m just going to hate people who do that kind of stuff to me. That’s what Jesus said the majority of us are going to experience.
We don’t get to go through life where nobody is ever mean or does just horrible things to us. In fact, he goes on to say in Luke chapter 17, he said to his disciples, It is impossible. It’s impossible to do what no offense should come. He said, even if you’re trying to set yourself up in your life that you would never be offended or hurt or betrayed by somebody else, it’s impossible for you to do that because we live in a broken world where people hurt one another, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes even unintentionally. So he says, we’ve got to get used to being able to forgive people who are trying to ruin our life.
And you can’t just walk around with these offenses in your heart because when we walk around with an offense, when we walk around with unforgiveness, we think we’re punishing the other person when in fact, the only person we’re punishing is ourselves. I read one time that a good definition of unforgiveness is when you drink a cup of poison, but you expect the other person to die.
In the book of Proverbs, the next one trying not to be offended. I love you. An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city. When you carry an offense, you become unyielding. You ever catch yourself saying, like, Why did I just say that? Why did I respond that way? Why did I speak? That’s not who I really am. Well, it could be because you’re carrying it around offense. You’re carrying around unforgiveness that you haven’t dealt with, and it’s making you become unyielding. Like a barred gate around a city, you’re like, well, they hurt me. I’m never going to let anybody ever hurt me anymore. So I’m just going to close myself in. And what you do is you not only borrow them out, but you also bar out God. And you bar out every good person and every good thing that you need from God to help you heal and recover.
I’m fascinated by the British monarchy. I read a lot of books, I’ve watched a lot of documentaries, and I’m just fascinated by anybody else. Like you see the movies, the shows, Netflix, right? I just love it. And I remember reading about the English Civil War that took place back in the 17th century. In 1649, there was a guy named Oliver Cromwell and his party wanted to overthrow the British monarchy. So they were just sick and tired of the unjust behavior, of the brutality of the monarchy. And so, they wanted to overthrow the monarchy. And they were actually able to overthrow the royalist party.
And he got 59 other legislators to sign a document after trying. The King at the time, King Charles, they got 59 other leaders to sign his death certificate, and they hung King Charles by the neck. First, they overthrew him. Well, Cromwell’s party was only in power for a short time, about eleven years, when the royalist party then overthrew him, and they took back the throne. The first act of the royalist party was to put a new King on the throne. And that King was King Charles’s son.
So when King Charles II came to the throne, his very first act, he said to his court, was the round-up of those 59 men that signed my father’s death warrant and brought them here. We’re going to put them on trial. So they went out. They rounded them all up, except for 15. He said, Where’re the 15 others?
He said, well, we discovered King Charles II. They’re already dead. He said, well, that’s not good enough. Go find out where they’re buried and dig up their bones and bring them here. That’s what he did.
He sends them out. They go, and they exhume these bodies from the grave. They’re dead, decaying corpses. They bring them back to the courtroom and set them in chairs in the courtroom, and they put them on trial. Can you imagine being the attorney?
Hey, what do you have to say for yourself? Nothing, right? I mean, that’s pretty much what it was. And guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty 15 times. And if that wasn’t enough, they went, and they took those dead corpses, and they hung them by the gallows.
Talk about digging up the past, come on. But that’s what you and I look like when we don’t deal with an offense when we don’t deal, when we carry around, and we harbor grudges, and we carry around unforgiveness in our heart. And if Jesus were to teach you about processing your worst day ever, this is what he’d say. You got to forgive everyone who’s trying to ruin your life. He’d say, listen, you got to let this stuff go.
You’ve got to let it go. You’ve got to forgive. It says, also in Hebrews, if you don’t forgive, that offense will become a bitter root that will grow up in your heart, that will defile many. If you don’t learn to forgive and let it go, it will destroy you and others around you. It will defile a bit of route will defile many. If you don’t deal with it, it will destroy your life. My wife ran into somebody yesterday and invited them to Church. And they said, yeah, I saw the text, and I saw what it was about. And I just can’t go. I just can’t go.
I’m not going to Church. I can’t hear about it because I had my worst-case scenario. And that very thing that’s keeping that person out of the presence of God has that person held hostage by the very person that hurt them in the first place, become unyielding. It defiles you. It keeps you out of the presence of God, away from the people of God. The very one who you need to run to. Come on. Who can set you free. Come on. Don’t let it defile you.
Let it go. If there was ever anyone who had a reason to hold a garage and carry a fence, it was Jesus. There were five specific things that happened to him in a very short period of time, 12 hours. And I want to give you all five of those things because if you’re thinking about holding the grudge for one of these reasons, I want you to know Jesus gets it. Write these things down. If you’re taking notes today, okay? Just grab your phone, whatever. And you want to write these things down. I see a couple of you got some phones. That’s good.
Okay, here’s the first thing. This is one of the first things that could have kept Jesus from forgiving and caring for an offense. Betrayal. He was betrayed by one of his best friends, Judas, for how much 30 pieces of silver sold him out. There’s nothing like getting hurt by someone. I mean, like, there’s hurt, and then there’s hurt that comes from someone that you care deeply about. Ain’t that true? And Jesus cared deeply about Judas, and he betrayed him.
Here’s the second thing. Write this one down. False accusation. Oh, man, does this one burn my biscuits? I mean, of all these five things I’m going to give you, this is the one Pastor struggles with the most. I’m just going to be honest. False accusations. Like, look, I don’t mind if I get accused of something that I did, but, boy, it really ticks me off when people accuse me of something that’s not even true. And then they go around, and they tell other people, and then those other people carry that offense, and they get all mad, and they get angry because they believe the lie because of false accusation. Are you kidding me?
They actually hired people to go to Jesus’ trial, and those people bore false witness testimony against him during those trials. They just told lies against Jesus. So he understands false accusations. I understand false accusation. If it makes any of you people feel better. I just want you to know I’m always trying to work on forgiving people that have brought a false accusation against me. In fact, I’ve got four names on my list right now. I hope that makes you feel better.
And then you think about it as he’s on trial, not one of his disciples come to stand up in his defense and say, oh, time out. That’s not true. I was there. Jesus didn’t say that. Jesus didn’t do that. None of them came to his defense. No one rose to his defense. So Jesus here’s the third thing. He understands rejection. When we live with rejection, a bitter root of unforgiveness can grow up inside of our hearts.
When I think about the rejection that’s happening right now on a pandemic scale, I mean, when I see the rejection, that is what people are saying to one another on social media right now. And sometimes you read so much of the rejection of other people against you that for some people it, even so, depresses them that they go out and take their own life over it because of what some troll on the Internet said. Can I just encourage some of you to get away from rejection? Get out of that. Get into the house of God.
We’ll tell you what God really says about you. We’ll really tell you the truth about you, that he loves you and he’s for you. The second to last is abuse. If anybody knows anything about abuse, it’s Jesus. The whipping, the scourging, the brutality of it all, and the crucifixion talk about physical abuse. Jesus gets it. He understands it. And if that wasn’t enough, there was the emotional abuse, there was the mocking and spitting on him and trying to, last of all, humiliate the man humiliation is the last one that would think that would cause us to carry an offense of all the movies are made of Christ and his crucifixion. I’m so glad that this is the one thing that Hollywood doesn’t depict accurately because Jesus did not have a loincloth on. They stripped him bare, naked, to humiliate him in front of his own mother and anyone else that was standing at the foot of that cross.
He was beaten so badly and abused, it says in Isaiah, the old Prophet said that he was beaten beyond recognition, that his own mother standing there couldn’t even recognize that’s my son, his head was so swollen and bruised and bloodied. And not only that, they strip him naked to humiliate him. And this is why the book of Hebrews says that we have a high priest in Jesus, that he understands all of our weaknesses, that there’s nothing you could ever take to God in prayer. No hurt, no heartache, no pain, no disappointment, no betrayal, no abuse that Jesus doesn’t understand. He’s like, I get it because I’ve lived through it all on my worst day.
So what do we do here’s? What we do. I want us to look at this key verse here. And this is the thing that initiated this whole deal. It says this in one, Peter four, one. Since Christ suffered while he was in his body, strengthen yourselves with the same way of thinking Christ had. See, this is a recurring theme. I think what the Holy Spirit is trying to speak to us as a Church about in 2022 is the way that we move forward, as we learn to think the same way as Jesus. If you want to forgive like Jesus, you got to learn to think like Jesus. You’ve got to think about forgiveness the way that Jesus thinks about forgiveness, not about your emotions, not about what the world says, which is all about revenge and taking your pound of flesh, and you just do them wrong because they’ve done you wrong.
That’s what the world says. That’s not the way the world thinks, but that’s not the way that Jesus thinks about forgiveness. If you want to forgive like Jesus, you got to think like Jesus. Listen, there are a lot of things people think forgiveness is that it’s really not. So let me set, and I just pray this is going to set some of you free, because some of you have been carrying around a fence, not for a day, not for a month, not for a year, but for decades.
You’ve been harmed, and you’ve been hurt, abused, physically, emotionally, and sexually. You’ve been robbed, you’ve been raped. You’ve been hurt in every unimaginable way, and you’re carrying that with you. Oh, I pray to God right now. He’s going to set you free, so you can think about forgiveness and know the difference between what forgiveness really is according to scripture and what it’s not. Are you ready?
Write this down. Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Nowhere in scripture, no utterance from any biblical leader, Jesus himself, would ever tell you to treat forgiveness this way. When somebody comes and apologizes, the Bible doesn’t say, oh, it’s okay. It’s no big deal. No, it’s not okay. And it is a really big deal. What you did, you don’t say, Well, hey, don’t worry about it. It didn’t hurt. No, it did hurt. I did suffer because of the choices that you made. Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Forgiveness is saying, you know what you did, it really did hurt, and it was a big deal. And I did suffer from it. But I choose to let you off the hook anyway. You don’t minimize it.
Here’s the second thing. Forgiveness does not require reconciliation of the relationship, for some of you think. Do you think if I really forgive this person, I have to reconcile and resume the relationship as it was before? That’s just not true.
I would hope that for you. I would hope that for me, but that’s not what forgiveness is. Listen, if you make reconciliation a requirement of forgiveness, then you allow the other person to hold you hostage, the very person who hurt you in the first place. They get to determine your level of how free you are. If you require the reconciliation of the relationship to really be true, forgiveness, that’s just not true.
Now, I would hope that would be the case, but it doesn’t always work out that way. And here’s why. Because reconciliation is a two-player game, it’s a two-player game. That’s why the Bible says in the book of Romans, if it is possible, live at peace with everyone. Sometimes it’s not possible, no matter how hard you try to reconcile if that other person does not reciprocate. While reconciliation is a two-player game, forgiveness is a one-player game. Forgiveness says this, I know what you did. It hurt me. It was wrong.
And whether you ever apologize to me or not, I forgive you. I let you go. I let this go. I release it. I go to the father. Whether you ever initiate, it doesn’t matter who initiates. It doesn’t even matter if that other person ever reciprocates. What matters is what you do because forgiveness is a one-player game. It’s when you go to God and for Heavenly Father. Oh, God, you got to help me let this go.
Help me release this person for the wrong they’ve done to me. I don’t want to carry this around anymore. I know I’m only hurting myself, and I’m not even hurting them, and I’m allowing them to have control of my life and living in my head rent-free. So God helps me to let it go. Father, forgive them and help me forgive them because they didn’t even know what they were doing.
So forgiveness is not a requirement of reconciliation. Also, forgiveness is not about doing what’s fair. I hear this all the time. Oh, Pastor. Well, that’s just not fair. And we want to play the fair game. Oh, you don’t know what she did to me, Pastor. That’s not fair. You don’t know what he did to me, Pastor. That’s just not fair.
Listen, can I just tell your friend you do not want to play the fair game? Fairness ended in the Garden of Eden when our first parents sinned against God. They rebelled. He created everything, and it was good. He provided it all for them, and he just asked them to trust him in response. And they chose to sin and to do what was best in their own eyes. And that sin fell into the bloodstream of humanity, and it’s contaminated everything ever since. And now we’re all born into sin, for all have fallen short. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is, so you know what we all deserve in fairness?
What do we deserve? The fairness game ends in death, but glory to God, the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It’s a gift. Can I just tell you this? Do you want to talk about fairness? It wasn’t fair that Jesus had to go to the cross and die for a year for sin and my sin, a sin that he didn’t commit. He committed no sin. That’s not fair. But he did it anyway. See, forgiveness isn’t about giving people what they deserve. Forgiveness is about giving people what they need. Aren’t you glad that God didn’t give you what you deserve? But he gave you what you need. It’s why the Bible says in Ephesians 4:32, it says, “Come on, forgive one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” I’ve got to learn to forgive other people. And it’s not fair because I’m a recipient of what Jesus did to me and for me, even though it wasn’t fair.
So I have to do for others what he has done for me. Here’s the last one. Forgiveness. It’s not impossible. I hear a lot of people say this all the time. Well, it’s just impossible. You don’t know what they did. I could just never, never forgive them. It’s impossible. I’m sorry that you were hurt, and I’m sorry that what has happened to you is unimaginable, and my heart breaks for you. But it is possible for you to choose to forgive one of my life. Verses in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” If Jesus could do it, you could do it because you have the same power of Jesus living inside of you. If you’ve accepted him, come on. As your Lord and your savior and your friend. So forgiveness is possible, my friend. So I want to give you three things.
As I close with this, maybe our team could come. I want to give you three things to do to someone who’s tried to ruin your life. Three things. Do these things. You’re not going to believe me. I’m going to tell you right now in advance. You’re not going to believe me until you do them. And you’ll never know until you try. Three things to do. Someone has tried to ruin your life. Number one, pray for them. Pray for them. Here’s what Jesus said. Next verse here. You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Friend. It’s impossible to hate somebody and pray for them at the same time.
You got to pray for him through Christ and his strength. It’s possible. Pray for your enemy. You know, when you go to God and when you pray, I believe that he can fill you with his Holy Spirit, and he can pray through you things that you can’t even pray on your own, that you can pray with a heavenly language, being filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that God can pray these things through you to his throne that will set you free. Here’s the second thing you need to do because Jesus didn’t stop there. He took it up another notch. He says someone’s trying to ruin your life. Not only do you pray for them, but you’ve also got to bless them. Do you know what the word blessed means? It means to speak well of. So you’ve got to make a decision that I will not speak poorly of this person who’s hurt me, trying to ruin my life, whether privately or publicly. But I only speak well of them. I will bless them. It says this in Luke 6:27-28 “But I tell you who hear me because some of you can’t hear this.” That’s what Jesus is saying. He said I’m trying to help you. Some of you can’t hear this. You’re not going to believe me. Jesus says until you do these, and you’ll never know until you try, you got to not only pray for people, but you need to bless them.
Speak well of them. I tell you who hear me, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you. Romans 12:14 says it this way, “Bless those who persecute you and bless and do not curse if you want to be set free, if you want to experience the Grace that forgiveness brings, then speak well of and bless those that have cursed you, because the only way to break a curse is with a blessing.” Prayer won’t do that, but blessing will last all. Jesus says this takes it up one more notch. Do good to them. Do good too. I know you’re not going to believe me until you do it, but you’ll never know until you try that.
You’ve got to find a way that you get up in the morning, you set your feet on the floor, and you say, God, I’m releasing this to you again. I speak well of this person. If there’s any way that you could show me how to do good to them, let me see it. He goes on. He says this, “do not repay anyone evil for evil.”
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody if it is possible, as far as it depends on you. Live at peace with everyone, so you don’t do wrong to somebody who’s done you wrong to get them back. He says, no, you do what is right. You do good when they do bad. He goes on, and says, this next, do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, it is mine to avenge. I will repay, says Lord. I want you to know, listen, people have hurt you, and I get it, and I’m sorry, but it’s not your job to get them back. That’s God’s. And by the way, by the way, who do you think can get them back better, you or God? Can we just put it in God’s hands? Can we just do that? Can we just pray for them and speak well of them? Can we do good to them and say, God, one day you’re going to reconcile the account, God, one day you’re going to balance the books. I know the false accusations. I know what they’re saying. But, God, you are my defender.
God, I’m going to let you get you got more ammunition, you’ve got more resources, and you go to rooms, you can walk into the room, and nobody even knows you’re there. You know what’s being said anyway. So, God, I’m going to let you handle that. And I’m just going to walk around, and I’m going to bless them. I’m going to speak well of them.
I’m going to do good to them. I’m not going to harbor bitterness and anger and resentment and let it defile and destroy me. I’m not going to let that poison any longer be prolonged in my life. I’m going to let it go, and I’m going to suddenly, he goes on, he says this. He says, on the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s thirsty, give him something to drink. I mean, go to the grocery store and buy some groceries and some water, and you take it to the very person, and you let it on their doorstep when they’re in need. In doing this, you will keep burning coals on his head. I used to read this like you. And they’re like, yeah, let’s get the coals out. God, let’s just burn, baby, burn, right? Is that what we think sometimes? Like when I say, hey, pray for your enemy, you’re like, yeah, I’m praying for them. I pray that God will burn them up. That’s what I pray. I’m talking about that kind of prayer. And that’s not what he’s talking about here. It’s not what he’s talking about here.
This doesn’t translate into our context, but what it meant was they didn’t have stoves and ovens as we do. So they cooked everything on an open fire, and it required wood. And as your wood would burn down, it would turn into coals. And as long as you keep those coals lit, you could light the next fire to Cook your next meal. But if your coals went out, if you were a good neighbor, a good neighbor would come and bring you new burning coals to help you restart your fire and Cook your meal. And so when you’re doing this, you’re just finding a way to do good to someone. You’re that good neighbor. He goes on, and he says this. And I think, if you really want a life verse, this is the one, do not overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good.
One of the most powerful examples of forgiveness I’ve ever seen in my life. Some years ago, I wasn’t in the room, heard about it, read about it later. Joyce Meyer, if anybody knows Joyce Meyer, she’s a very famous preacher, powerful woman of God. Televangelist speaks all over the world. God’s really blessed her, but she got up, and she said, I’m going to tell you a story I’ve never told before. And you could just feel it in the room. Everybody leaned in like, what is Joyce going to say? She got up, and she told her story that as a child, she was raped by her father 200 times. She remembered every single one. She counted them.
It’s brutal – 200 times by her own father. Just imagine the abuse, the pain emotionally, what that does to a young little girl starting. I think at the age of like, I think it was like ten. And so this went on for a long time when Joyce grew up, and she eventually found the Lord and God. She gave her heart to Christ. God filled her with her spirit, with the spirit, and saved her and called her and gifted her and anointed her to be an amazing one of the most powerful preachers of our generation. And she later went on to say how one time in prayer, the Lord just impressed on her to take care of her father and mother.
And he was very old in his years, and he had never apologized to Joyce for what he did, never came to the Lord. But the Lord impressed upon her by his spirit to pay off all their debts, to provide for everything they needed. In fact, she said the Lord told her to build them a house next to her house. She did. She bought the property, and she built them an amazing house. And she took care of everything for years. And one day, he’s very old. Her father came over to her house sobbing, and he apologized to Joyce. He said, oh, honey, I’m so sorry. And she forgave him. And in that moment of forgiveness, her dad gave his heart to the Lord. And it was just some days later that Joyce baptized her father. And it was shortly after his baptism that the Lord called him home. And what was most striking about her story, by the way, when he died, he went to heaven and not hell because he gave his heart to the Lord, and he made his peace with his daughter. But what struck me most about that story, as she said in her statement, I’m not sorry that it happened anymore.
I’m not sorry that it happened anymore because it gave me a chance to experience what my suffering Savior Jesus experienced. And to do it as he did it, I’m not sorry, and she said, I’m so glad my Daddy’s in heaven, friends that’s a picture of forgiveness, see, true forgiveness is when I can remember what happened without the pain because I’ve seen how God has worked all things for his good in my life. That’s the point where Joyce became she didn’t overcome evil with evil. She overcame evil with good. She prayed for him, she blessed him, she did good to him, and it resulted in the reconciliation and in his Salvation.
She got to the point where she could say I’m not sorry that it happened anymore. See, here’s the deal, friends. Jesus said this in Matthew 10:8. “Freely have you received freely give?” Freely have you received freely give? You know what that means to me here’s what it means the forgiven forgive and those who have been forgiven of much forgive much? Aren’t you glad that God didn’t give you what you deserve? God gave you what you need.