Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

I went to a civilian podiatrist today and went through a two-hour compressive examination of my feet and ankles. The doctor believes that what is wrong with my feet and ankles is something called “Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome” and cannot rule out that this condition might have been caused when I severely twisted and sprained both of my ankles in Sicily in 1986.

The doctor believes that this condition is what is causing the swelling, pain, broken blood vessels and fallen arches in both of my ankles. The doctor believes the VA has unknowingly been mistreating my ankle condition for many years now, which has prolonged the pain, and condition. I have a follow-up appointment set for next Thursday to determine if surgery would repair the damage already done to both ankles.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) refers to an entrapment of the posterior tibial nerve as it descends from the leg to the foot. This condition is extremely painful. The terminal aspect of the posterior tibia nerve (L4-S1 nerve distribution) supplies the motor function to the muscles of the foot and the sensory innervation to the bottom of the foot. Varying degrees of entrapment of this nerve may affect either motor function, sensory function or both.

The recovery period for tarsal tunnel surgery is from 3 months to 18 months.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Insignificant “Forsaken – Rejected – Discarded”

Insignificant “Forsaken – Rejected – Discarded”

  1. 1.   What was I thinking last night?
  2. 2.   Why did I think they would listen to me when people (just like them) would not listen when a man came back from the dead 1,979 years ago?
  3. 3.   Why did I think they would remove the cotton from their ears and hear the “TRUTH” about the “LIES” they blindly believed in years past?
  4. 4.   Why did I throw pearls to swine?

I woke this morning feeling very abandoned: Abandoned.

The study that took me ten months of meticulous sweat was completely and unreservedly rejected and called “legalistic” by “Modern Day Pharisees” when in reality it was the complete opposite of legalism: Biblical Truth.

Before sleep over took me last night, I revisited the past ten-month research, looking for any mistake, which corrupted the study: I found none. The conclusions exposed within the study are true: The New Testament is not a Law Book. I did not make a mistake in my edifying endeavor. The evidence is not refutable: Prima-Fascia.

But was I honestly the one rejected by the self-proclaimed pious? – Not at all! The truth was rejected. The biblical evidence was rejected.

Rejected without an independent – self-conducted (honest) study of my findings by the self-proclaimed pious.

Biblical Truth – Rejected for a man-made (untouchable) traditional policy of “Command, Example, and Necessary Inference (CENI)” which tradition and time have elevated to untouchable: Even when contextual biblical evidence clearly shows the flaws of CENI reasoning.

Why was the study discarded? Here are a few clues. 

  1. 1.   Traditions viewed as untouchable (Higher then biblical truth)
  2. 2.   Acceptance of prior man’s teachings as untouchable (Trust in people not in God)
  3. 3.   Minds “self” convinced of PERECTLY knowing ALL (Pharisees’ Thinking)
  4. 4.   Perpetual belief that God and Christ and the church are only true within “finite neat little boxes” made by FLAWED finite minds.
  5. 5.   Emotional reasoning having precedent over biblical context that refutes such reasoning.
  6. 6.   Forcing God’s “Spiritual Reality” into mankind’s “Limiting Physical Restraints” without searching the scriptures to discover truth.

Why did I think they would listen to me when they rejected the author of the truth already?

Thursday, April 21, 2011, Payson, AZ

Tilted Halo: Finite not Infinite Rigorous Honesty

Tilted Halo: Finite not Infinite Rigorous Honesty

Good morning world of Blog readers. “We Humans” seem to always put everything into little boxes. Life has taught me that God is not a box person. Life has shown me that God is way to large in my life to fit into any box made by human minds (yours or mine).

When I became a True Christian (seeking to learn God’s Will and not human interpretations), a friend told me in a private chat at the local church building, that the devil wants everyone that God has and the devil will do everything in his power to get the people that God has. He told me that the devil would use every part of my life that I am weakest in as he tries to pull me away from God. This is where I have learned (came to understand) what faith really means. Faith is not the direct opposite of fear: Faith is the opposite of doubt. Faith does not mean 100% trust: Faith is confidence! Confidence that God will always keep His word and always show me the next right thing to do.

I have spent the last 21+ years of my life following the “next indicated” path (the next RIGHT thing) that God was leading down in life (even though I did not know that He was leading me by His Spirit). I hardly ever understood where the path was leading me or why, but I always had confidence that the path was a better path for me to walk then the rocky, un-mapped, ancient trail of the prior 33+ years.

God showed me, first and continually through AA that rigorous honesty is the path He wanted me to walk in my life and to not fear evaluating myself daily to see all areas where I have been dishonest to Him, others, and myself. One lesson that was so deeply hard for me to learn in life is that “NO” other person ever poured the alcohol or dropped the drugs down my throat. It was always my choice to do this as an escape from my human realities. No other person forces me to walk against God’s Will. Only my ego, fears, desires, and selfishness forces me to do what I do not want to do and walk where I know I should not walk.

Now rigorous honesty is a very hard path for us humans to walk in life because of our peers, our ego’s, our emotions, and our past life training and experiences. However, rigorous honesty is possible for us finite humans with God’s infinite help.

I am here, always, to encourage and support everyone that has the courage to seek truth and daily evaluate where they have allowed their finite will to supersede God’s infinite Will.

I will share this with you who will read my limited continuous understanding of God’s Will and anyone with the courage to heed; the path of rigorous honesty is not easy but the rewards are unlimited. No I am not perfect at rigorous honesty – no human is.

One thing I have learned over the collective last 54+ years is that, “Rigorous honesty without compassion is actually brutality” and not “TRUE” love at all.

Hugs and love always, Guy

Payson, Arizona, April 16, 2011

Is the New Testament Primarily a Law Book?

Is the New Testament Primarily a Law Book?

What is the purpose of and makeup of a “Law Book?”

  1. Law books are “prima-fascia” documents containing ONLY enforced: Provisions, rules, guidelines, and explanations of enacted legislation that sole purpose is to interpret regulations for the general and specifically governing of a common group of people within society. They contain reports of cases decided by courts, commentaries on legislative procedures, rules, regulations, and clear interpretations etc… arranged for references purposes.
  2. The purpose of a “Law Book” is to enforce and control by way of established punishments and civil constraints for individual unlawful acts committed against the general good order of society.

What is the makeup of the “New Testament?”

  1. The New Testament consists of four narratives of the life, teaching, and death of Jesus, called “gospels”; a narrative of the Apostles’ ministries in the early church, called the “Acts of the Apostles” and by the same author as the Gospel of Luke, which it continues; twenty-one letters, often called “epistles” in the biblical context, written by various authors and consisting mostly of Christian counsel, instruction, and conflict resolution; and the Book of Revelation.
  2. The New Testament consists of 27 books. The New Testament is an anthology, a collection of works written at different times by various authors.
  • Paul was the author of the majority of the New Testament with 13 books attributed directly to him. (3 on specific teaching and 10 on addressing cultural, social, and religious issues effecting the church)
  • John authored 5 of the books. (1 on the life of Jesus, 1 on the forth coming future, and 3 addressing cultural, social, and religious issues effecting the church)
  • Luke authored 2 of the books. (1 on the life of Jesus and 1 on the history of early church growth)
  • Peter authored 2 of the books. (Both addressing cultural, social, and religious issues effecting the church)
  • James authored 1. (Addressing cultural, social, and religious issues effecting the church)
  • Jude authored 1. (Addressing cultural, social, and religious issues effecting the church)
  • Matthew authored 1. (On the life of Jesus)
  • Mark authored 1. (On the life of Jesus)
  • Anonymous authored 1 called Hebrews. (On religious issues effecting the church)
  1. The original texts of the New Testament were written beginning around AD 45, with the Book of James and ending with John’s writing of Revelations being the last book written about A.D 95 to 96. Thus all of the New Testament was written no later than the mid 2nd century.
  2. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek.
  3. There are over 5,300 known ancient Greek manuscripts (MSS) and fragments of the New Testament that have survived until today. In addition, there are over 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts and over 9,300 other early manuscript versions in Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, and Ethiopic. All total, there are over 24,000 surviving manuscripts of the New Testament today. Very minor changes and variations in (the authentic) manuscripts affect none of the central Christian doctrine nor do they change the message and therefore all are considered of lasting value.

What is the purpose of the “New Testament?”

  1. The main purpose of the entire bible is to inform individuals of the “Truth” or real nature and attributes of God and Jesus.
  2. The main purpose and goal of the New Testament is to inform individuals of the “Truth” as to the specific criteria and instructions of God in order to receive the inheritance of adoption into God’s family known as eternal salvation.
  3. The secondary purpose of the New Testament is to direct the work of an individual’s “life long” adoption to God through Jesus.
  4. The third purpose of the New Testament is instruction on how to live in loving peace with all other people on a daily bases.
  5. Included in the third purpose: the New Testament has many sub-purposes directed at specific instructions for people concerning how to live their individual lives. It is practical for educating, identifying mistakes, and correcting them and guidance in honest moral and virtuous living, so that the individual is carefully outfitted for every good effort they strive to accomplish.
  6. It is a historical record. The Book of Acts is a historical record of the early Church.
  7. It is a “Self-Help” guide. The epistles that make up most of the New Testament deal both with problems faced by local congregations and issues of concern that effected the early Church at large. Today’s congregations facing difficulties can greatly benefit from the wisdom and advice on how to approach and deal with modern problems facing unique situations.

Simple Definitions

  • LAW is to bind restrictions that are enforceable by punishment.
  • COMMAND is to direct or influence personal choice and may be laws.
  • EXAMPLES are NOT law and are NOT binding: they just show how something might be accomplished.
  • IMPLICATIONS (necessary inferences) are NOT law and are NOT binding: they just imply one possible reason something was accomplished.

Illustrations of Points to Consider:

#1          The Worship Assembly:

  1. a. Worship Format: None of the New Testament writings address any specific structural or specific universal formal pattern of HOW to do worship. Jesus actually “WOO’S the Jewish leaders of His day for nit-picking God’s intended purposes.
  2. b. Hebrews 10
    1. 1. Request that each person have a clear heart. Verse 22
    2. 2. Command to be wash with pure water. Verse 22
    3. 3. Request to hold to our confession of faith. Verse 23
    4. 4. Request to encourage each other to love deeper and do good to others by not skipping regular times of interpersonal fellowship. Verse 24 and 25
    5. 5. Warning that continual sin will negate our salvation and home with God. Verse 26
    6. 6. Warning concerning the result of continual sin. Verse 27 to 31
    7. c. Corinthians 11

1.         General life commands that God is the head of Jesus, Jesus the head of man, and man the head of woman. Verse 2 to 16

2.         Rebuke concerning selfish attitudes of the church when they assemble (specifically the Lord’s Supper.) Verse 17 to 33

d.         Corinthians 12

1.         Explanation (example) on the one Holy Spirit and the verity of spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit within the church and how each gift is in harmony with the others. Verse 1 to 11

2.         Explanation (example) concerning the verity of membership within the church and how the membership might function in harmony. Verse 12 to 31

e.         Corinthians 13

1.         Explanation of the importance of love towards others. Verse 1 to 3

2.         Example of true Godly love. Verse 4 to 7

3.         Explanation of who we do not know all truth until Jesus returns. Verse 8 to 12

4.         Statement of the great importance of love. Verse 13

f.         Corinthians 14

1.         Encouragement to seek after true Godly love and to teach others. Verse 1 to 5

2.         Encouragement to seek to build up the church and not be concerned with speaking in unintelligible languages. Verse 6 to 19

3.         Encouragement to not create confusion to non-believers who might visit. Verse 20 to 25

4.         Explanation that everything done in church should be to encourage and build each other up. Verse 26 to 33

5.         Explanation why it is counter productive for a married woman to offer opposite opinions in church in context with prophesy (teach by offering explanations or understanding of topic). Verse 34 to 35

6.         Encouragement for all to teach each other in a spirit of love in order to build everyone up and not be disruptive or divisive. Verse 36 to 39

7.         Encouragement that everything done in the church should be orderly. Verse 40

g.         Corinthians 16

1.         Situational Command to give. Verse 1 to 4

2.         Situational Command for each member to set aside a contribution as they can afford on the first day of each week. Verse 2

3.         Explanation for the situational instruction to give. Verse 2 to 4

h.         Acts 2

1.         Direct Command to repent and be baptized. Verse 38

2.         Explanation of the command to repent and be baptized. Verse 38 to 40

3.         Example of how the church (those people that repented and were baptized) in Jerusalem worshiped God and fellowshipped each other daily. Verse 42 to 47

i.         Ephesians 4

1.         Encouragement for each individual within the church to love and build each other up. Verse 1 to 16

2.         Encouragement for each individual within the church to live like Jesus and not live a worldly life. Verse 17 to 24

3.         Encouragement on how each individual within the church should conduct their interpersonal relationships. Verse 25 to 32

j.         Ephesians 5

1.         Encouragement for each individual within the church to live (in true love) and build each other up. Verse 1 to 21

2.         Warning of what Godly living is not. Verse 3 to 14

3.         Encouragement on how each individual within the church should conduct their interpersonal relationships with each other. Verse 15 to 21

k.         Colossians 3

  1. 1. Encouragements to each individual on how to live like Jesus. Verse 1 to 4
  2. 2. Encouragement to each individual to stop and no longer live a sinful life. Verse 5 to 11
  3. 3. Explanation to each individual on what it looks like to live like Jesus. Verse 12 to 17

#2          The Lord’s Supper:

  1. a. Lord’s Supper Format: None of the New Testament writings address any specific structural or specific universal formal pattern of HOW to observe the Lord’s Supper.
  2. b. The ONLY Direct Commands:
    1. 1. (Matthew 26:26 ESV) “Take, eat; this is my body.”
    2. 2. (Mark 14:22 ESV) “Take, this is my body.”
    3. 3. (Luke 22:19 ESV) “Do this in remembrance of me.”
    4. 4. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) “Do this in remembrance of me”
    5. c. The Reason: We observe the Lord’s Supper has nothing at all to do with anything physical. It has everything to do with keeping the Spiritual purpose and intent of the forgiveness given by Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension always in our hearts.
    6. d. Where is the Command: There is NO command or example of specifically when (day or night; time; daily; weekly; monthly; annually) to observe the Lord’s Supper given in the New Testament.
    7. e. Where is the Command: There is NO command or example of specifically how to observe the Lord’s Supper given in the New Testament.
    8. f. Where is the Command: There is NO command or example of the specific order of the implements used in our observance of the Lord’s Supper given in the New Testament.
    9. g. Where is the Command: There is NO command or example of the specific order of or requirement of prayers to be offered prior to partaking of implements used in our observance of the Lord’s Supper given in the New Testament.
    10. h. What About Troas in Acts 20:
      1. 1. Verse 7 never specifically says the “Breaking of Bread” referred to the Lord’s Supper. It is only assumed that this “breaking of bread” implies the Lord’s Supper. It could mean a common meal or any other type of fellowship meal. There is simply no proof to support this assumption given in the context.
      2. 2. Verse 7 does not state or imply that the church in Troas met or observed the Lord’s Supper only on the first day of the week. Again it is only an assumption not supported by context.
      3. 3. Verse 7 does not state or imply that the church at Troas met or observed the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week. Again this is an assumption not supported by context.
      4. 4. Verse 7 does not state or imply that the church at Troas continued to meet or observed the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week following this event or even prior to this event. Again this is an assumption not supported by context.
      5. 5. Verse 7 only indicates that this event was done this particular time. This is the only true assumption that is supported by context and the only time “breaking of bread” is talked about in the New Testament in connection to the first day of the week. Matter of fact, there is no direct indication that the Lord’s Supper was ever eaten on the first day of the week in the New Testament.
      6. 6. Verse 11 (under the Roman calendar) would imply that the church in Troas actually observed the Lord’s Supper on Monday morning because Paul preached until after midnight.
      7. 7. Verse 11 (under the Hebrew calendar) would imply that the church in Troas met to observe the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night but was delayed because Paul preached until after midnight.

Conclusion:

Both, the Old and New Testament’s are writings that show the unchanging nature (purpose) of God. However, they are two very different guides in purpose, function, and scope.

The Old Testament was in fact, (the Torah) for the most part, a collection of laws (613 in the Torah = 248 positive and 365 negative) because it was the social physical instructions on living within the community of Israel as a nation and it was also the official religious boundaries of Israelite Nation: Though it also contained history, philosophy, and poetry it is primarily a book of physical restraint – Law. These laws covered religion, health, and society. The root base of all these laws can be traced to the Ten Commandments. The Old Testament is restrictive (mostly immediate punishable rules).

The New Testament is designed to influence thus creating a change towards ethical good (personal choice). Paul wrote that the restrictive physical law (of the Old Testament) died when Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of all effectively ending the old Jewish covenant and issuing in the new Christian covenant. Those with Jesus now have spiritual liberty from restrictive physical religious law. The New Testament is personal choice (heaven or hell).

Colossians 2:13-14 “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (NKJV)

Galatians 5:1-6For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (ESV)

Galatians 5:13-23For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (ESV)

Hebrews 8:7-13 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (ESV)

The New Testament is not a book of “Law” but a book on “Life Living” principles. Even though it does contain specific instruction, it is a far reach to classify the New Testament as a law book. The New Testament is a book of Spiritual guidelines, Spiritual guidelines of service to God through Jesus, and Spiritual guidelines service humanity. The majority of the New Testament contains ideas on how to resolve human problems of living among each other in a spiritual realm.

The New Testament is more correctly a record of advice and suggestions concerning life and living: From salvations specific directions, to general suggestions on daily living, and for ideals on lovingly treatment to others. People who attempt to force the New Testament into only one purpose of “Law” have the wrong understanding and perspective of the many unique purposes and will therefore; miss the true and wonderful message of the New Testament altogether.

There are not a lot of authoritative (punitive) commands directed in the New Testament. We are directed in just six ways:

  1. Direct edict
  2. Appeal or Urging
  3. Metaphorical inquiry
  4. Expressions of personal acknowledgment
  5. Declaration of personal circumstances
  6. Suggestions of practicality

Very few of the New Testament directives bind a condition or restriction on us unless they foster some standard for the advantage of purpose, which is explicitly made known within the teaching. There are many statements indicating advice (with and without clear stated reasons) given in the New Testament. However, we seldom follow them all. How should we honestly adjudicate which ones are demands of consequence unless God has clearly made this known? It is hard for us to ascertain so it is better for us not to be as inflexible as the Pharisees’. We must always look for God’s intent and avoid our own assumptions.

Guy Lewis, Payson, Arizona

June 18, 2010 – April 11, 2011

(Background: I am a retired naval criminal investigator whose task was to fully know and enforce law during my career.)

 

Self-Justified Resentment: Dangerous Form of Self-Righteousness

On October 24, 2010, I presented a study on forgiveness instead of harboring resentments.

One prime fact that I discovered during my final years in law enforcement, where I investigated more then a 1000 incidents ranging from petty arguments turned violent, drug deals, murder, grand larceny, domestic violence, etc: Was that NONE of the multitude of investigations had any innocent parties. Everyone involved in each situation, regardless of degree or personal justification, was part of the cause and blame of their incident.

Remember that the TWO New Testament words we translate “to forgive” means literally “to let go” or “to cancel” a wrong.

This study will seek to answer the important and vital questions concerning why people cannot bring themselves to obey God’s clear commands concerning forgiveness of others.

Interpersonal Relations:

“Interpersonal relations” is not often thought of as a Bible topic, but advice about dealing with other people makes up a large part of the teachings of Jesus and His apostles as well as the wisdom books of the Old Testament. Whether dealing with parents, children, spouses, family, friends, co-workers, fellow church members, or even enemies, the Bible’s advice is spiritually sound and effective for promoting peace and harmony and therefore is a Bible topic for all people to study and learn.

Over the entire course of my life span, I have seen and taken part in way too many examples of resentment. I have watched resentments crop up in families, friendships, businesses, and recovery meetings. I have seen that even religion is not safe from the destruction of resentments. Now and again, as egos and personalities get to work before principles and the result, almost universally, are justified resentments?

The word resentment comes from the Latin word “sentire” which means, “to feel”, and when you put “re” in front of any word, it means “again”, so the word resentment means, “to feel again”.  Resentments includes people, institutions and/or principles with whom we were angry, with whom we were hurt, with whom we are threatened, with whom we are interfered with, with whom we felt had wronged us. Resentment is nothing less then consciously or unconsciously staying sore at some person, institution or principle.

I always thought that resentment was reasonable, acceptable, and almost fun at times. Resentment became a way of life for me because it seemed like I had problems with or was annoyed by most of the people, institutions or principles I knew in life.

But, if we want to enjoy God’s forgiveness, then our resentments must be mastered,” and here is why:

  • Resentment destroys more than anything else (countries, families, friendships, churches, businesses).
  • A life, which includes deep justified resentment, leads only to futility.
  • A life, which includes deep resentment, leads to perpetual unhappiness.
  • To the precise extent that we permit resentments to rule our lives, we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile to others and ourselves.
  • All around the world, the business of resentment keeping is fatal.
  • One of the greatest enemies of all people everywhere is justified resentments, which lead to jealousy, frustration, and fear.

We must honestly ask ourselves; are we earnestly seeking to get rid of the resentments in our life, or do we hold on to some, considering them unavoidable (justified)?

This is important and something to really think about.

Letting go of resentments means forgiving and God Commands Forgiveness:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:14-16 ESV)

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25 ESV)

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” (Luke 6:37 ESV)

What is forgiveness?

Simply put, forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing the negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment towards a person, institution, or situation. Is it easy to do? No! However, it is easy to see where in a person’s life they have not actually or honestly forgiven others.

  • Lack of forgiveness can be readily seen in our demeanor towards the people we have not forgiven.
  • Lack of forgiveness can be readily seen in our speech about or towards the people we have not forgiven.
  • Lack of forgiveness cannot be hidden very long due to the prevailing attitude’s that not forgiving manifests’ within our hearts and our lives.
  • Lack of forgiveness hinders our effectiveness for the cause of Christ.

All of the New Testament teachings on relations follow from Jesus’ commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was most important, He replied,

“And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:26-31 ESV)

The English word “love” has many different meanings, but this “Christian love” of the Bible comes from the Greek word agape, which means good will and benevolent concern for all others. It is deliberate, purposeful rather than emotional or impulsive love.

“Love your neighbor” was not a new commandment:

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18 ESV)

The people of Jesus’ time had developed an extremely restricted view of who should be considered a “neighbor.” In His Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus corrected that view and teaches us that a “neighbor” is anyone we come in contact with: Period!

Self-righteousness = Arrogance:

No one is perfect; we are all sinners in one-way or another as Romans 3:21-24 and 1 John 1:8 tell us. If we treat people we consider to be “sinners” with scorn, or think we are better than they are, we are guilty of the sin of self-righteousness:

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 ESV)

Judging, Criticizing, Condemning:

Self-righteousness is one of the hardest sins to avoid because it is so much easier to see other people’s faults than to see our own faults. But, judgment of a person’s character must be left to God.

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4 ESV)

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12 ESV)

Rather than look for faults in others, we should look for the good in others and try to correct the faults within ourselves. Rather than criticizing other people, we should concentrate on living holy lives, ourselves. Jesus’ parable of a person with a log in his eye trying to see to remove a speck from another’s eye reminds us that we probably have bigger faults within ourselves (including self-righteousness) than the faults we like to criticize in others:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5 ESV)

This does not mean, however, that all sin should be ignored:

  • Christians should help each other recognize and overcome sinful actions and attitudes, but it must be done in a sincere spirit of love and not with the intention to punish, embarrass or disparage as we are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, James 5:19-20, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, and 2 Timothy 4:2 but not hold to resentments.
  • Churches have the right to excommunicate members who bring reproach or embarrassment on the church as directed by Paul when he wrote 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 but not hold to resentments.

Anger, Retaliation, Revenge:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22 ESV)

No one MAKES us angry. Anger is our choice from our own emotional response to some action or event. More often than not, our angry feelings are based on a misinterpretation of what someone said or did or on our own exaggerated sense of pride. Angry words and actions escalate hostilities and block corrective and healthy communication rather than solve problems. Whether between church member, parent and child, spouses, siblings, friends, or nations; expressions of anger divide us and drive us toward open hostility or covert hostility.

It is all too easy to react to life’s annoyances and disappointments with anger. It is far more challenging, but much better, to react with understanding and empathy. In this way, we can quickly settle disputes and avoid turning minor incidents into major battles full of resentments and hurt feelings:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20 ESV)

Holding a grudge will consume us with hatred, blocking out all enjoyment of life where the resented party is concerned. A grudge clouds our judgment and may lead us to an act of revenge that can never be undone. The Old Testament law specified equal revenge for equal wrong: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” but that rule was too harsh for the new age of the kingdom of God. Jesus said the right thing to do is to take no revenge at all:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42 ESV)

Gossip, Slander, Lies, Deception:

“The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37 ESV)

The words we say or write have tremendous power for good or evil. Words can promote love and understanding or inflame prejudice and hatred. It is words that make or break marriages and other relationships. Words can make peace or make war. Our words should always show a spirit of Christian love.

A lie is any false statement made with the intent to deceive someone. We must always be honest in our dealings with other people. The Bible strongly condemns any attempt to deceive with the intent to hurt or gain unfair advantage:

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16 ESV)

“For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;” (1 Peter 3:10 ESV)

Gossip is an act of hostility (slander) intended to harm someone’s reputation. I call this Murder by Character Assignationand we ALL must avoid the temptation to gossip at all cost as it breads resentments:

“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” (Proverbs 16:28 ESV)

Humility, Humbleness:

“The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12 ESV)

An attitude of humility is the key to dealing with other people in a Biblical way. Humility or humbleness is a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of resentments, aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and exaggerated pride. Humility is the quality that lets us go more than halfway to meet the needs of others. Why do principles such as courtesy, patience, and deference have such a prominent place in the Bible? It is because a demeanor of humility is exactly what is needed to live in peace and harmony with all persons and to reconcile others backs to God. Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self worth. Rather, it affirms the inherent worth of all persons.

The Golden Rule:

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31 ESV)

The “Golden Rule”, spoken by Jesus, is possibly one of the most repeated quotes from the Bible and is the standard Jesus set for dealing with other people. If we wish to be loved, we must give love. If we wish to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those we dislike. If we wish to be forgiven, we must also forgive. If we wish others to speak kindly of us, we must speak kindly of them and avoid gossip. If we want happy marriages, we must be faithful, forgiving and kind to our spouses. If we wish to be fulfilled in our lives, we must share generously with others.

Forgiveness:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

We should always be willing to forgive others and not hold any resentment against them. Holding a grudge and/or seeking revenge have no place in the lives of Christians. Jesus calls us to remember that we are all God’s children. Just as He loves all His people and is willing to forgive their sins, we should be willing to forgive also.

If you have not fully examined yourself lately” and are in any way holding resentments towards others, now is the time to obey God’s will and be free from the bondage of this grave sin.

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV)

Hugs, Guy Lewis

Payson, Arizona: Sunday, April 10, 2011