Facing Our Accusers part 2 Aureate

“And I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kindgom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:10) And then John adds at the end of this verse, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.”

From one to the other. It says that the days of the devil pointing his finger and throwing stones and slinging mud are over. But we’re not quite there yet so you have the next verse. There is a way to overcome the vague and ambiguous evil of that ever-present accusatory feeling (should you experience or be experiencing it) that follows you around.

“Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman. He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.” (Acts 22:27-28)

I find that while we may rub people the wrong way (this could be what causes the accusatory tone we sense, you understand), we don’t know what’s going on in their heart and as such, don’t know the full story. Jesus chose the way of suffering (unto death) in spite of being the only person for whom that paradigm was unnecessary. Paul’s story was several shades removed from the total black-and-white of Christ, however. In Acts chapter 25, we see Paul’s qualifications for fair trial in Roman court and how he carries the Gospel of Christ in his human frame. It’s fascinating when you see the pieces play out as they will. Paul carries citizenship to one of the greatest empires the world had known and yet his allegiance is with one higher. He tells those of the “house of Philip” (Acts 21:8) that he was “ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And that’s the real reason you feel (if you do) a standoffishness bordering on hate. Because you are representing Christ. And one of the devil’s main concerns at present, is to accuse you whether it’s true or not. After Paul had gone to Jerusalem, the Lord tells him to leave for one reason only “for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me” (22:18). Your testimony has all the power of your new birth with the telling. You carry this around and if you don’t realize it–I mean make it real–you most likely won’t “overcome him”. This is stark but simple.

“But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works.” (Psalm 73:28)

Advertisements

Facing Our Accusers part 1 Schema

“Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.” (Psalm 50:20)

How does it feel to be treated like that? You don’t know? That’s wonderful. Because if you’ve left your house at some point and endeavored to be your own person in this world, you’re bound to step on some toes as you go about your business.

“Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:” (1 Peter 2:22-23)

Sometimes life can wind up like a legal proceeding. You get these nebulous notions as to what people think of you, corroborated or not. And you wish you had some audience with someone who, you think (subconsciously), holds sway over your happiness. It can be this way at work, at places you frequent, at school or at home. And it’s no fun. Because we really can’t look to the world to exonerate us when once slander is loosed from the hearts and minds and lips of those we’ve rubbed the wrong way, however well-meaning we were and innocent.

“For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.” (Psalm 11:2-3)

So, in legalese, it’s called the Confrontation Clause. It’s basically the right to “face your accusers”. The thing is, we certainly don’t see all the extenuating circumstances that lead people to act in the rude ways they do towards us. And many times, while we might have meant well, we probably shouldn’t have interacted with them in the way that we did. In other words, we’re not always without fault in these cases. But it takes God’s wisdom and judgment to sort through these factors.

“To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.” (Acts 25:16)

The latter chapters of Acts detail Paul’s tour of Asia Minor in his persecution for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Something that was brought into this world through spiritually legal auspices, if that makes sense. Because of Jesus taking the punishment for all our sin and sins, we now have the responsibility of taking our grievances to Him and forgiving our offenders. This is Gospel. And whether we actually get to talk to the person who stirred up the strife that’s ruining your day, or not, know that they’re forgiven when once you lift them up to the Lord and ask for it on their behalf. They may hate you all the livelong day. But they’re just getting all the closer to truly meeting the God you know, love and serve.

“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)

Old Wounds Telling

Forgiveness, much like mercy, is something that is necessary. Like mercy, grace, peace and every other quality that God bestows, it’s something that’s ours for the asking. He takes delight in meeting our each and every need. And everyone needs forgiveness.

Jesus asks us to forgive. It’s a command, really. And He says that we won’t receive forgiveness for ourselves and our sins unless we give it to others. If you can’t think of anyone or anything to forgive, that’s okay. But if you direct that query to God and see what He thinks, you just might be surprised the things you’ll find. No, I’m not saying that God needs forgiveness—we may well be harboring some notions toward Him that need refocus or tweaking, though—I’m saying that there’s always someone in our past that we can consider, and then bestow the gift of forgiveness for any slight. This is something done in the secret depth of our heart. A place that’s seen by you and God alone. There are places in everyone (myself included) that His love and forgiveness has yet to illuminate.

There are people you encounter as you live out your life, that you’re totally justified in ignoring, and even shunning. As everyone is growing, ourselves included, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that our growth process isn’t stunted by those who don’t have consideration for us in our weakened state. This is wisdom. And shun them we may, but we still need to forgive them, keeping them at arms length. And when God brings you back around and you find yourself possessing the strength needed to effectively deal with, either that personality type, or that person in particular, the forgiveness with which you led will enable the relationship to begin anew and continue. But only up to a certain point. Some types are bound to clash. Question: “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) Answer: not much. None, really, and unless we forgive them, it’s not likely that we’ll ever have any.

Forgiveness stories are some of the most encouraging and heartwarming you’ll ever hear or read. They instill hope and inspire us to forgive in turn. The victim who forgives their attacker or their oppressor. The prisoner of war who is, after all the years of horror and captivity, enabled to turn to the offender and say “I forgive you”. The books and the scales are balanced and God breathes a sigh of relife, er, relief (a typo, yes, but it makes sense). Made possible because of the blood of Jesus.

“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:3-4) No, but Jesus did. He resisted the sin but gave His blood to ensure full forgiveness, as bestowed by God, became an actuality.

Spring is fully upon us. If there are places in you that haven’t received the fresh life that Jesus provided through His atoning death and resurrection, know that because of what He did, universal forgiveness is offered for all. Humans that is. And while Jesus cites the one sin that can’t be forgiven, i.e. the “blasphemy of the Holy Ghost” (Mark 12:31), and that the word “forgiveness” appears a mere seven times throughout the King James Version, and He tells us (however metaphorically) to forgive four-hundred and ninety times a day if need be (Matthew 18:22), “charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) That means every last one.

Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Complete the circuit and let God restore you.