Forgiveness Brings Freedom from Bitterness
December 3, 2010
“Those pigs have zero chance,” Mike Keahbone said as he described a wild hog-hunting expedition he went on recently. “We’ve got the weaponry, we’ve got the ammunition, we have the pig whisperer … we are completely ready.”
Keahbone shared his humorous account to relate to OBU students how a person must be equipped at all times to serve the Lord. A full-time evangelist who speaks across the state, he shared a message of forgiveness based on the book, “Mere Christianity,” with OBU students as part of a weekly chapel service on Wednesday, Dec.1.
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“You are armed to be this incredible generation that changes everything,” Keahbone said.
He explained that God has placed it on his heart that the potential for today’s students is not accidental. When Keahbone first began reading the “Mere Christianity” chapter on forgiveness, he realized something he had not realized before: “Not only are you the most incredible generation, with the most potential out of any other generation, but you are also the most wounded generation,” he said.
Keahbone explained that this generation has been damaged more than any other by divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse. Because of this, forgiveness is absolutely crucial for this generation, he said.
Matthew 6:14-15 was the focal passage for the message: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
The Scripture on forgiveness is a terrible truth people don’t want to believe and try to explain away, Keahbone said. However, Keahbone said verse 15 says it just how Jesus meant it: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” He explained the truth means that at the moment one withholds forgiveness from another is the moment one stops being forgiven.
“When we’re not willing to forgive, it creates this bitterness in us that we never ever really get over, and it’s constantly separating us and dividing us from our God,” Keahbone said.
When Christians fail to practice forgiveness, bitterness can take control and cause great damage in the intimacy Christians have in relationship with the Lord.
“This is significant for your generation because you are that wounded generation,” Keahbone said.
The Lord has a plan for Christians, yet the enemy knows this and wants to intrude and set up barriers to keep Christians from what the Lord has, Keahbone said.
Keahbone related his message to a passage in Exodus where the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites and continually reminded them of their slave status by keeping them tired and busy, working them ruthlessly.
“That is a phenomenal picture of how the enemy uses bitterness,” Keahbone said, noting Satan reminds Christians of things they need to forget until Christians become weary. It keeps them from doing what God has planned, he said.
Just like in Exodus, “here is a people that were the people of God, and yet they lived consistently and constantly in place where they were bitter at Him,” Keahbone said.
He pointed out the Israelite’s deliverer, Moses, grew apart from them in Pharaoh’s house, free from embitterment.
“God uses the man of God to set His people free,” he said. “This is really simple, and yet absolutely complicated: if someone has wounded you … the mandate, the command, is to forgive.”
He closed the service by offering a time of prayer and forgiveness.
“The reason why God can demand forgiveness is because He’s perfect,” Keahbone said. “He paid a great price for it -- He paid a terrible price -- so that we can be forgiven.”