Monday, July 19, 2010

Who is in Your Dungeon?

Jesus told a parable about a king who forgave a slave of a $50 million debt (in today's dollars). It would take 4,500 lifetimes to pay off the debt, yet the merciful king let him off the hook! You would think that slave would be so grateful that he would forgive all his debtors as well. Not so with this guy. He went a fellow slave who owed him $15 in today's money. When the fellow slave could not repay the debt, the slave threw him into the dungeon (Matt. 18:23-30).

The $50 million debt represents our sin debt to God. When we plead for mercy, the Lord forgives the entire debt! But after we have been forgiven, the Lord expects us to forgive all our debtors as well. If we don't forgive others, we are like the slave who threw the fellow slave into the dungeon, except our dungeon is inside our souls. Everyone that you refuse to forgive is locked up in the dungeon of your soul.

Whenever you think about how they hurt you, you make a trip down the stairs into your dungeon. You pull out your whip and you start lashing the people chained to your walls, trying to make them pay for what they did to you. But every time you whip someone in your dungeon, you feel a sharp pain in your stomach. It's almost as if, instead of whipping them, you are whipping yourself on the inside.

The only way to get free of the torment is to release your prisoners. You need to make one more trip down the stairs. This time, instead of carrying a whip, you carry the key of forgiveness. You unlock their chains and watch them leave your dungeon. It's empty now. You can't explain it, but the sharp pain in your stomach is gone. And then you realize that it wasn't them you set free. It was you!
To hear the entire message on this topic, go to
"Relationships, Part 2, Who is in Your Dungeon?"
Keep setting others free,
Kent

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lessons from Mountain Climbers

In October 2009, a 41-year-old man from Ireland fell to his death while scaling a mountain. Although it was risky to go off by himself, he apparently thought he wouldn't need help from anyone. He was wrong. He broke the number one rule of mountain climbing: "Don't go climbing alone."

In contrast, when a group of tourists went mountain climbing in Switzerland they all fastened themselves together to a line. As they were ascending one of climbers slipped. He would have fallen to his death on the rocks below but was saved because he was connected to a lifeline. The other people pulled him to safety.

After reading about these mountain climbers, it occurred to me that some Christians are like the man who went off by himself. They might watch evangelists on TV and listen to Christian radio, but they aren't connected to other believers through a relationship with them. Sooner or later they will fall and no one will be there to catch them.

However, other believers are like the team that was connected together with a lifeline. They spend time together in prayer and fellowship so that they know what's going on in each other's lives. If one of them falls, the others are there to hold the person up. That's why Hebrews 10:25 says to "not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some."

Sure, it's easier to just withdraw and not get involved in other's lives. But God didn't design you, or call you, to be independent. We are a part of Christ's body. We need each other. Which kind of mountain climber are you?