Longing Pt.4 – For a White Christmas
Isaiah 1:18 NLT – “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
White Christmas is THE Christmas song of the United States. It was originally recorded by Bing Crosby back in 1942, and it became so popular that he had to re-record it in 1947 because the masters became worn beyond use. Its popularity had a lot to do with the fact that America had just gone to war. Our people found themselves in a confusing and unstable world – loved ones being shipped off to the battlefront, not knowing if they would ever see their families again.
Lyrics – I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten, and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I write.May your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be white.
I wanna talk about Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dicken’s Classics A Christmas Carol.
Dickens characters usually represent some kind of hurt. Scrooge – stinginess, Oliver Twist – neglect, tiny Tim – handicap, miss havisham- rejection, hurt, unforgiveness.
•We tend to carry out in a small way that his characters did in a big way.
Ebenezer Scrooge bound himself up by his past when he refused to forgive those who had hurt him. harboring feelings of resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness.
Many people fail to realize that when we don’t forgive those who have hurt us, we create a prison of torment for our own soul. When we stay mad at people or hold onto a grudge against someone, we hurt ourselves more than anyone else.
When we don’t forgive, we damage our ability to have healthy relationships with people in the future. The offense that we don’t forgive becomes a lens through which we view other people in our lives. Often people have troubled relationships because of a past experience with a completely different person.
When we refuse to forgive, we create stress and anxiety in our lives mentally, emotionally, and physically.
This is one of the reasons Jesus emphasized that we make forgiving others an ongoing event in our lives.
Sources of Unforgiveness
•Betrayal •False accusation •Rejection •Abuse •Humiliation
You Can’t Have Peace and Bitterness, It’s one or the other. Your hurt and pain will tell you
•Treat them with contempt
•distance yourself from them
•Give them a cold shoulder
•teach them a lesson
•they should be punished
•When someone wrongs you or hurts you it usually affects every aspect of your life, family, career, self esteem, sense of sense worth.
We love to think about what those people did to us. We get churned up inside. We love to repeat the pain time and time again.
Until we allow the spirit of total forgiveness reign in our lives, we will have no peace. We must quit nursing the attitude of unforgiveness.
Which do you prefer – peace or bitterness? You can’t have it both ways.
We Have a Wrong Understanding of Forgiveness…It’s not…
•Minimizing the seriousness of the offense.
•Instant restoration of trust.
•Resuming the relationship without changes.
•Forgetting what Happened – Choose not to remember
“To often we forget what we should remember and remember what we should forget”
•Approval of what a person did – God never approves sin
•Excusing what they did – you can’t explain wrong behavior
•Justify what they did – evil can never be justified
“If you are suffering from a bad man’s injustice, forgive him lest there be two bad men.” – Augustine
•Folks, When everything in you wants to hold a grudge, point of finger and remember the pain, God wants you to lay it all aside.
How to Have a White Christmas
1. Forgive them without condition.
(Ephesians 4:31-2 NIV) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The Forgiven Forgive
Luke 23:34 NIV – Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
2. Forgive them in advance.
(Luke 11: 4 NIV) “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”
You can turn – Inward, Outward, or Upward!
Matthew 18:21-22 NLT – Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[a] who sins against me? Seven times?”22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven
“I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.” – Buddy Hackett
3. Relinquish your right to get even – Choose To Bless Them
Romans 12:17-19 NIV – 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
(1 Peter 2:23 LB) “When Jesus suffered, He did not threaten to get even; He left His case in the hands of God…”
Choose to Bless
Luke 6:27-28 NIV – But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
•Nelson Mandela – 27 years of political incarceration. The longest serving political prisoner in the world. Emerged unscathed and told his people to forgive their oppressors and focus on the future and on building a new united nation.
•In spite of the devastating trauma of apartheid, he chose the path of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than the policy of revenge and vindictiveness
“The only revenge which is essentially Christian is that of retaliating by forgiveness.”
Scrooge changed when the 3 ghosts visited him and showed him his future if he continued being bitter. Dickens says he changed and kept Xmas in his heart everyday and loved everyone
The ultimate proof of forgiveness is when you sincerely pray to God to let those who have hurt you off the hook
Give yourself gift this Christmas and forgive those who hurt you and experience true freedom
Lord, I have not loved, but resented certain people and have unforgiveness in my heart. I ask you Lord to give me the power to release and forgive those who have hurt me. I do now forgive them and I ask yo to forgive them also. Please replace my hurt with peace and the love of Christ. And forgive me for the times I have hurt others. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A WHITE CHRISTMAS HERE ARE THREE QUESTIONS I LEAVE YOU FOR PRAYER AND DISCUSSION
- WHO IS IT THAT YOU HAVEN’T FORGIVEN?
- WHO IS IT THAT YOU CAN PRAY FOR ?
- WHO IS IT THAY YOU CAN BLESS?