Random Blog Clay Feet: October 07, 2008
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Resistance and Forgiveness Revisited

I have been pondering the issue of resistance for quite some time and the effect that it has on our relationship with God. Ever since I started becoming aware of the truth about God's wrath it began to become increasingly obvious to me that the real problem is not God's lack of patience or His supposed anger but our resistance to His love and passion.

But this morning I became aware of another dimension to this problem of resistance. I was reading a story about a terrible injustice committed against a black person in South Africa years ago and how he later was able to engage in a life of compassion because of his choice to let go of his bitterness and forgive the one who had tortured him and ruined years of his life.

This is a typical story in many respects of things that go on in this world, at least the first part of the story is very typical. Injustice has become the norm in this world and true justice has almost become extinct. I myself am struggling right now to have a proper attitude about a very corrupt judge that is playing the system to unjustly keep a dear loved one of mine in an extremely abusive prison month after month without any trial or conviction. It is taking a heavy toll on the one receiving this abuse along with all who are close to him. And the greatest temptation for all of us is to give in to anger, bitterness, evil thoughts and desires for vengeance against the corrupt officials who so selfishly are abusing their positions of power and using people's lives like pawns to be played on with impunity.

But this is just the normal attitudes of the heart of flesh. And tragically the temptations that are assaulting each of us who are aware of this terrible situation of injustice is the intense attraction to become just as hateful, selfish and abusive as the corrupt people we are tempted to hate. My natural reactions of the flesh is to wish that I was in a position of power over them so that I could inflict at least as much pain and abuse on those judges, officers and wardens as what they are doing to my friend. But when I face those internal impulses honestly and confess them to God I have to admit that morally I am just as bankrupt as those that I desire to get revenge against.

So I am brought face to face repeatedly each time this situation stirs up my emotions, with my own very real need to receive and embrace the spirit that comes from Jesus, the spirit of complete and comprehensive forgiveness. Now I am not talking about the mistaken notions of forgiveness that most people have in their minds and that I grew up with and had until recently myself. I am talking about the true attitude of forgiveness that I have only learned about recently in the past few years that has challenged me to move far beyond my old habits and attitudes as a typical kind of generic Christian.

But it is precisely at this point that I am now becoming aware of one of the most important factors about this issue of resistance. For what I am now realizing is the true nature of those feelings that surge up in my mind when even the suggestion of forgiveness is presented under such obvious conditions of injustice as I am facing now and that millions face every day. Those feelings inside cause resentment at even the suggestion of relinquishing my rights or my independence and freedoms and are full of this very attitude of resistance.

The core ingredient that motivates most if not all of the sinful desires that surge around within me are driven by my resistance to the ways and will of God. When I face the convictions of the Word of God and the promptings of the Spirit to accept His grace and extend that same kind of grace to others, it is my resistance that causes me to even hesitate and struggle with turning in that direction. It is resistance that attempts to prevent me from accepting the invitation of Jesus to come to Him to receive rest and peace. It is resistance that causes me to rebel when someone tries to point out my faults. It is resistance that fuels my intense and fierce emotions and reactions whenever someone uses fear and intimidation to force me into compliance with their rules or their immediate control over my life. Nearly everywhere I look I am becoming aware that there is an element of resistance present to some degree or another.

Even as I write these things I am feeling that sense of mixed emotions that arouses intense questions and even confusion of identity in my own heart. I feel an urge to defend myself and to justify these desires. Part of me screams out for fairness and justice and to be treated right but at the same time another part of me warns that to demand my rights and crave revenge against those who treat me abusively plays into the deceptions of the flesh and actually moves me into becoming more and more like those whom I despise. And right at the center of that whole struggle is my inner core of intense resistance that appears to be working for my good while actually acting as a traitor to my own soul.

Resistance is possibly the main element within me that the Bible calls my sinful flesh. It is resistance to believing that God's ways are superior to my ways and is the only way that I can continue to enjoy real life. It is resistance that inverts sinful humanities perceptions of reality and causes us to believe the opposite of what God declares is real and for our best good. It is the spirit of resistance that was the original infection that poisoned the mind and heart of Lucifer and that he intentionally spread throughout the universe that started this whole messy situation of sin. And most importantly of all, it is resistance that will tragically produce the very fire that will ultimately bring the final end to sin forever.

So to bring it back to me personally and to get things into proper perspective, my resistance to forgiving those who mistreat me, abuse me, commit any amount of injustices against me or others whom I love is infusing me with lethal explosive ingredients that may detonate at any time whenever intense passion becomes present. It does not even have to be the final day of judgment when sin is forever exposed in the great explosive meltdown when it encounters the passion of God's perfect love. My resistance can produce the same kind of lethal effects internally on a smaller scale whenever it is expose to passion from other sources such as abusive authorities or religious fanatics or from any number of directions.

As I consider this it seems to be emerging that the lethal mixture here is something like nitro and glycerin getting together. It is also analogous to epoxy ingredients that create intense hardness after being combined. When resistance and passion are mingled in the same heart then the results are going to be a hardening of the heart and destructive heat that will destroy the soul.

Wow! I have never looked at it this way before, especially in relation to forgiveness. Of course, just because I now see this a little better does not mean that my flesh will cease to crave revenge or give up its practice of constant resistance. My sinful nature is unfixable and unchangeable. No amount of knowledge or truth will ever change the opinions and desires of my flesh. The only solution for dealing with this internal source of sin in my life is to continue to crucify it, to die daily as Paul talked about, to be crucified with Christ so that His life and Spirit can produce His fruit in my life by His resurrection power.

At this point all I can do is confess my sinful resistance that permeates nearly every part of my mind. I am frightened at how pervasive this dangerous influence is within my psyche, but I am starting to see the connections it has to what has happened to me many times in the past. I wish I could say I will just stop resisting and let God have His way in me from now on. And I can choose that direction consciously but I am all too aware that the fight is going to be much deeper than just a one-time conscious decision. If God does not keep daily working His miracle of transformation and grace in my heart there is no hope for me of becoming free of this fatal element.

God, deliver me from all my fears. And even more importantly, cleanse me of this terrible but most familiar attitude of resistance. Teach me and mentor me in Your ways and wash my inner parts with Your healing grace and Your lubricating oil of the Holy Spirit. Fill me with Your oil today so that all resistance is eliminated and I can grow more quickly into the fullness of Your kind of maturity.