The Cup of Forgiveness

This cup of forgiveness He handed to me

Is a cup that brings healing, so rich and so free.

It cost me no money, this vessel of joy.

But I must share it carefully. This is no toy.

 

It cost my Lord dearly, this wine of His love.

He said “Give this freely, this gift from above.

It isn’t for those who would cast it aside

Or scoff at its contents, awash in self pride.”

 

“It is for the humble who treasure its worth,

A drink for contrite ones who know little mirth,

The desperate ones who are too thirsty to spurn it,

And wise to know they have done nothing to earn it.”

 

So, when the man came to me, tortured in mind,

And I recalled all the ways he’d been unkind

To me and my loved ones, the things he had done,

Neglecting our needs as he sought his own fun,

 

I struggled inside, and I asked was it wise

To give drink to one so despised in my eyes?

I know it can heal him, but is he for real?

Or is this his trick? Is he cutting a deal?

 

Has he truly repented for stealing from me,

With actions that he performed so callously?

He says he does not care how it breaks my heart.

He’ll do what he wants. His has made this an art.

 

Though seven times seventy I may forgive,

It’s tearing me up inside. How can I live?

Whenever I see him, I’ll try to be kind,

To bless when he curses, with his good in mind.

 

I’ll offer this cup to him. That much I’ll do,

But, also, I pray, his misdeeds he will rue.

For I cannot trust him. I’ve lost all respect.

Lord, please, for his own sake, don’t let him reject

 

The path that will bring him back on the right track.

Until then, I pray, let him suffer attack

Until he gets desperate enough for this cup.

For you’re my avenger and I am fed up

 

With tactics that bully. I need peace inside.

Please make your Word real, because for me you died.

I cannot live feeling unloved every day.

So then, first let me drink of this cup now, I pray.

 

Let me feel forgiven and then I can give

The love that you gave me, that others might live.

 

 

Sick or Simply “Suffering for Christ”?

In my travels throughout the Christian world and throughout cyberspace I have discovered some disturbing philosophies concerning true Christianity and what it means to suffer for the Lord. It is the idea that physical disease and handicaps are part of Christ’s sufferings in which His followers are called to participate. But what does the Bible say about suffering?

The Old Testament book of Job is frequently mentioned when it comes to the idea of physical pain and suffering. If you read the first two chapters very carefully, it is evident that while God allowed Job to suffer, it was Satan who afflicted him with sickness, and it was a works-based mentality based on fear that opened the door. In the first chapter, we see that Job was worried about his children, so he sacrificed for them continually, thinking “What if they cursed God in their hearts?”

Does such thinking fall under the category of “serving God,” or did Job have a problem with his thought life?

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:23) The vast majority of us have physical eyes with which to see, but I believe the eye can also refer to the imagination.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

What does it mean to be pure in heart? Well, what do you imagine God to be like?

Job was worried about his children. Was he trusting God with them? What kind of God did he think he was serving?

“Lord, I knew thee, that thou art a hard man,” the servant told his Master in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:24). If this is our attitude toward God, then we will live in fear, not faith. Now, if you want to call that “suffering,” then fine. But is it really suffering for the Lord? In the talent parable, the servant feared his master, but not in a good way. Instead of using his talent for good, he hid it. Did the Master reward him? No. He took the talent from him and gave it to the ones who used their talents. They were men of faith, not fear.

Were they better than Job? No. According to Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

If Job could have been justified by works, then it seems he would have been.

“Hast thou considered my servant Job?” God asked Satan. “… there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Job 1:8

If anyone could have made it to heaven by their works, it probably would have been Job. But if he fell under the category of “all have sinned,” then he obviously had some deeper heart issues that disqualified him.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Christians are immune to suffering. While sickness can help us understand what suffering is like, I wouldn’t call it “suffering for the Lord.” I believe sickness is part of the curse that causes death and which came upon man as a result of the fall. Sin, whether outward or inward, is what invites Satan to attack us.

But by the stripes of Jesus we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)