I love being out in the woods. Now, I don’t like going camping, but I do like to hike, I like to walk along out in the woods and see all the trees and the different trees. I especially like the trees on the East Coast. I don’t know they are just different than the trees we have here in Ohio. Each summer we would go to Long Wood Gardens, a park that was started by the DuPont’s and is now run by the state. Man are there some beautiful trees with some interesting branches. Some of the biggest trees line the path and they have put lights up in the trees to light the way up the pathway. It is so cool to see and walk under and they are so neat to look up into.
The Bible refers to trees in several different places. We see a tree in the Garden of Eden, in Psalms 1, and then again here in Luke 1. Christ refers to the Sycamore tree when He talks about forgiveness. He states that it is going to take just as much faith to move a Sycamore tree as it does to move a mountain. Have you ever wondered why He uses a tree in comparison to a mountain? Think about it, on our walk to our destiny the mountain is in our way. In the Bible days, they didn’t have the excavation equipment that we do today. So, it made sense that you would need faith to move that mountain, but a tree. You could just cut it down. That was easy. However, getting the roots out are not easy.
I don’t know if any of you have ever worked on getting a tree or a bush out of your flower beds, or yards, and had to deal with the root system. You chop and chop and chop and think you have only to find another root. The Sycamore tree root system is double the size the height of the tree. Think about how wide that system would be. Think about how difficult that would be. It would be almost impossible to dig it all out on your own.
However, in this passage, Jesus said that with faith the size of a mustard seed you not only remove the tree, but you can pull it up by the root. Now, why does He mention the roots? Because the offense leaves a root and the root is stopping you from getting a blessing and the root is a root of bitterness. As soon as you get rid of the root of bitterness, then you’re going to walk into blessings like you’ve never had before. What you have to decide is the root more valuable to you than the blessing? If holding onto the root is more fulfilling to you than walking into the blessing, then keep your root, keep your hateful attitude, keep your bitter spirit, keep your condemnation, and arthritis that goes with it, and the diabetes that goes with it, and just keep on dancing and going to church and be hateful. However, if you’re going to walk in supernatural power, you have to find a way to get rid of the root of bitterness.
I’m not telling you to keep the person. I’m not telling you to get rid of the person either. I’m not even interested in the person. I’m talking about the bitterness and doubt and skeptism and cynicism and negativism and the spirit of suspicion that comes into your life after you’ve been offended and offended and offended. When God gets ready to send you a blessing, you can receive it because of the root of bitterness that occurred back then and in order to have your arms open to receive what God is about to do next in your life, you have to cast down everything.
I’m talking about freeing your hands. I’m talking about freeing your heart. I’m talking about freeing your spirit. I’m talking about freeing your expectation. So, you can live your life to the fullest without being encumbered by bitterness. I’m trying to make you understand that there’s a reason that the Lord told the disciples to pray this prayer “Forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors.” I don’t know about you, but I think that is probably the scariest verse in the whole Bible. Because if you really think about what that is saying, I’m asking God to treat me like I treat those with whom I have been offended.
This is why at the risk of being criticized. At the risk of people talking about me like a dog. At the risk of them saying, “I’m not taking a standard.” I have always been merciful to everybody. I don’t care what you did. I don’t care who you did it with. I don’t care if they’re getting ready to kill you. I will not be carrying the rope to hang you, because the rope that you built to hang them will be the rope to hang you. I will be merciful to everybody. I’m going to do my best to not say anything about anybody. Every time somebody wants some dirt on somebody I’ll do my best to just say, “That’s why Jesus died.” I want to stay free and open. I’m not going to build a hangman’s noose and have to choke in my own rope. “Forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors.” As quick as I can. When you forgive, you release them to the Lord and then you are asking the Lord to manage you in your forgiveness.
Let me quickly show you one more thing and then in my next blog we’ll jump to something else. When Jesus was here on this earth He did a lot of things. Actually, if everything that He said and did were written down there would not be enough books to contain it all. However, probably the most important words that He said came from the cross. The one word that I want to remind you of is, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He was forgiving the people who were crucifying Him. Did they ask? Were they asking? No. Yet there He was forgiving them while He was dying. So, you have to think, “Why?” He knew that in three days He was going to have to raise Himself from the dead. He knew that He couldn’t have anything holding Him down. This was going to be the greatest miracle of all. If Lazarus hadn’t been brought back to life, we wouldn’t have known anything about it. If any other of the miracles hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have known anything about it. However, if He hadn’t come back from the dead there would be no Gospel. There would be no salvation. There would be no redemption. There would be no freedom for us from the grave. In order for Him to accomplish that He couldn’t have anything holding Him down. So, He was casting off all the weight that might hold Him in the grave.
Now carry that all the way through to us today. If Jesus had to do it while He was dying, what makes us think that we can hold onto our bitterness and unforgiveness? Listen you have 3 days to get rid of that and rise to be a new person. Get rid of it. Cast it off. Live the life that God wants you to live today, free from the bondage of bitterness. If you’d like to talk more about unforgiveness, or need help with dealing with your forgiveness, please call the church office, I’d be glad to help you through the process to freedom. It only comes through the cross and blood of Jesus.