In the late 1970's I was driving home and turned on the radio to hear what I thought was a wonderful Christian song sung by Anne Murray. The words were so powerful. Here are the first two versus:
I cried a tear, you wiped it dry
I was confused, you cleared my mind
I sold my soul; you bought it back for me
And held me up and gave me dignity
Somehow you needed me
You gave me strength to stand alone again
To face the world out on my own again
You put me high upon a pedestal
So high that I could almost see eternity
You needed me, you needed me
It seemed to me the vocalist was a lost soul singing a song about God's love and redemption. God was even saying to this hurting soul He needed her. That night I put my five year old to bed and prayed for her. When I finished praying on my knees next to her bed she said, "can I pray for you daddy". She laid her little hand on my head and said a simple heart felt prayer: it brought me to tears. When I got up, said good night, and turned out the light; a light went on in my head. I thought my little princess could do very little materially for me; she couldn't do the dishes, make me money, cut the lawn, still spills her milk once in a while: except she loves me. If I were ever to lose her before my time I would have a hole in my heart and feel pain the rest of my life. I then had a glimpse of Father God who loves us even though there was nothing materially we can offer Him... except love. God actually loves us the way I love my daughter; he actually needs us. Wow!
Have you ever had people problems before you were saved: lies, theft, slander, deception, murder, hateful name calling? How did you handle them? When I was young I used violence. As an adult I cursed my adversary and verbally abused them. As a senior I pray for their souls. The Greek word for salvation is sozo. The meaning is more than eternal salvation. Sozo infers provision, protection, peace, healing, prosperity in this lifetime on earth.
In the legal courts of Heaven forgiveness for our transgression have been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are now the righteousness of God in Christ and become joint heirs with Jesus, born again, and our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. However if we violate God's commands, His Word, while on earth we are legally giving Satan license to interfere in our lives. The legal document that delivers us from Satan's strong hold on our lives is found in the Disciples Prayer, the Lord's Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass against us.
But you say I can't forgive them. "You don't understand what they did." Here is the secret to our sozo salvation. When born again God the Father looks at us as justified, sinless, because of our faith in the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We have sinned. Jesus has forgiven us. As forgiven saints we are benefited much more than we can imagine. It is sometimes difficult to feel upset at others for their transgression but your act of faith in forgiving them is our deliverance. In time the wound will heal.
As my little girl became a teenager there were times when her transgressions hurt me. Forgiving her became a bit more difficult as she got older but was the sure way to keep our loving relationship on the right path. As the song beautifully put it, He (I) needed me (her). The Serenity prayer seemed the best action to take and made it easier to forgive differences.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
He forgive us for everything. Forgive others and be free!