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September 13, 2020
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Touching Lives is the international broadcast ministry of Dr. James Merritt.

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  • male announcer: This program ispaid for by the friends and
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  • partners of "Touching Lives."
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  • Welcome to the internationalbroadcast ministry of
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  • "Touching Lives" withDr. James Merritt.
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  • Here at Touching Lives, ourmission is to touch the lives of
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  • the lost and enrich the faith ofthe found, and now, here is
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  • pastor, author, and speaker,Dr. James Merritt.
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • James Merritt: There are twoproblems that we all deal with
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  • that I believe, as I've watched,have probably caused the
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  • greatest psychological,emotional, and spiritual damage
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  • to anyone; if you do not dealwith them properly, they will
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  • ruin your life.
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  • One is guilt and the otheris bitterness.
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  • One is guilt, theother's bitterness.
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  • I've got to deal with theseeveryday of my life, I fight the
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  • same battles you do, but I don'thave a choice, I have to win
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  • my battles, you say well, why?
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  • Because a big part of what I doand a big part of my calling is
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  • to help you deal with your guiltand to help you to deal
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  • with your bitterness.
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  • Well I can't help you with yourguilt, if you've done something
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  • wrong, if I'm swimming in guiltbecause of something
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  • I've done wrong.
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  • I can't help you deal withbitterness toward people who've
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  • done you wrong if I'm swimmingin bitterness and stewing in
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  • bitterness toward peoplewho have done me wrong.
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  • Now, in a way, guilt andbitterness are kinda two sides
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  • of the same coin.
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  • Guilt comes when we do somethingwrong to someone else but we
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  • refuse to get forgiveness,bitterness comes when someone
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  • has done something wrong to usand we refuse to
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  • give forgiveness.
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  • Now the problem is both guiltand bitterness are prisons.
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  • There's some of you walked inhere today, you look like you've
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  • got your act together, you looklike everything's cool, you look
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  • like you've got everything undercontrol, but the truth of the
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  • matter is you get up everymorning looking through the bars
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  • of bitterness; you get up everymorning looking through the gate
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  • of guilt; and the only key thatwill unlock either door is the
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  • key of forgiveness.
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  • If you're a guest of ours today,we're in a series that we've
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  • been calling "Unbelievable,"we've been going through the
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  • book of Ephesians, because thebook of Ephesians really deals,
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  • in the first half, with anunbelievable God that's done
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  • unbelievable things for us.
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  • Then in the second half of thebook, Paul, who wrote this book,
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  • tells us about the unbelievablethings this unbelievable God
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  • wants to do in us.
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  • Well today, we're in the 4thchapter of the book of Ephesians
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  • and if you have one of theselittle notebooks we've been
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  • giving out, it's on page 32of your notebook.
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  • We're in the book of Ephesians,chapter 4, and Paul, in two
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  • short little verses, tells ushow to get out of the bondage of
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  • bitterness, how to get free fromthe grip of guilt.
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  • So the question is, why isforgiveness so hard?
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  • Why forgiveness is sucha difficult thing?
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  • And let's be honest, forgivenessdoesn't come naturally, and it
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  • rarely comes easily.
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  • Now, it may be because of whatthe word forgiveness means:
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  • the word forgiveness literallymeans to let go or to send away.
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  • As a matter of fact, in theGreek language it's a financial
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  • term and it refers to thecancellation of debt, and when
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  • you think about it that makessense because when somebody
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  • hurts you, they do you wrong,they owe you; they've done
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  • something wrong, they're inyour debt, they owe you.
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  • You do something wrong, you hurtsomeone else, you owe them,
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  • you're in their debt.
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  • Well forgiveness is simply yourwillingness to write off the
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  • debt, it's your willingness tocancel the debt, it's your
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  • willingness to say to a personwho has done you wrong and they
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  • do owe you, "You know what, youdon't owe me anymore, I just
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  • cancel the debt."
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  • As a matter of fact, youremember what Jesus taught us
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  • in the Lord's prayer?
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  • He said, "And forgive us ourdebts, he wasn't talking about
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  • financial debts, he was talkingabout moral debts, ethical
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  • debts, when we do wrongto other people.
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  • "Forgive us our debts, as wealso have forgiven our debtors."
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  • He was exactly right because sinis a debt that you owe.
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  • If you sin against God, you oweGod; if you sin against someone
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  • else, you owe them.
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  • So when you sin against someone,you owe them, they sin against
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  • you, they owe you, and the onlything that pays the debt off is
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  • forgiveness; but the reasonthat's so hard is, when
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  • forgiveness is given, somebodystill pays, somebody has to pay.
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  • And I promise you this morning,let me just go ahead and warn
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  • some of you right now, you'regonna be uncomfortable, you're
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  • not gonna like some of thethings I say, you're gonna be
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  • squirming in your seats thoughpeople may not notice it,
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  • because some of you live everyday, you look through the bars
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  • of bitterness, you're lookingthrough the gate of guilt, and
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  • you need to get debt-free.
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  • Paul tells us three simple,though they're difficult, simple
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  • ways to do that, so here we go.
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  • Number one, you've got torelease bitterness, you've got
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  • to release bitterness.
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  • Now, Paul comes right out of thegate, doesn't mince words,
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  • doesn't cut corners, doesn'tpull punches.
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  • He says look, if you are tiredof being a slave to the master
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  • of bitterness, if you're tiredof being an inmate in the prison
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  • of bitterness, the first thingyou've got to do, you've got to
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  • release your bitterness.
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  • So here's what he says, "Get ridof all bitterness, rage and
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  • anger, brawling and slander,along with every form
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  • of malice."
  • 00:06:09.218 --> 00:06:10.520
  • Now let me tell you howbrilliant Paul is and why I know
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  • he must've been inspired by God,'cause this is master
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  • psychology, let me tell you why.
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  • Paul just lists for us all therange of emotions and feelings
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  • that bitter people have.
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  • So for example, "Get rid of allbitterness," alright, what keeps
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  • the fire of bitterness burningin your heart?
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  • Rage and anger, you see, youstew over the hurt that someone
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  • has done to you, it's onyour mind all the time,
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  • what does that do?
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  • That spills over into brawlingand slander, you know what you
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  • do and you're bitter?
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  • You start telling other peopleabout the person that hurt you.
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  • "Hey, let me tell you what thatguy did to me, let me tell you
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  • what my ex-spouse did to me, letme tell you what my business did
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  • to me, let me tell you how badlyI've been treated," and all of
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  • that leads to malice, you knowwhat malice is?
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  • It's all the hurtful things youdream about doing than that of
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  • a person, it's all the hurtfulthings you hope happen to that
  • 00:07:03.840 --> 00:07:07.310
  • other person.
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  • So what is Paul'sbrilliant advice?
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  • Get rid of it, I know whatyou're--ticks you off,
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  • doesn't it?
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  • Paul, that's all you got?
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  • Get rid of it.
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  • So let me get this straight, youjust want me to drop it.
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  • By the way, the Greek word forget rid of, it literally means
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  • to remove yourself from or toseparate yourself from, let me
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  • give it a good illustration.
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  • How many of you have ever walkedinto a spider's web?
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  • Okay, what's the first thing youdo when you walk into
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  • a spider'a web?
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  • Right?
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  • You've got one goal in life,anything that feels like
  • 00:07:52.889 --> 00:07:55.791
  • a spider web, you want it off;that's the word that Paul
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  • is painting here.
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  • Paul is saying you got a bitterfeeling, you're dealing with
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  • bitterness right now, you needto get everything that even
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  • feels like bitterness, get itoff, get it off quick, and get
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  • all of it off.
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  • Now, I know that may not seemvery helpful, as a matter of
  • 00:08:10.473 --> 00:08:13.442
  • fact, it may even make you angry'cause your sitting there saying
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  • but man, he doesn't know, youdon't know what I'm bitter
  • 00:08:16.412 --> 00:08:20.016
  • about, and well, I mean howunsympathetic can you be?
  • 00:08:20.049 --> 00:08:23.586
  • But if you think about it, Paulis actually doing you a favor,
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  • 'cause let me--think aboutthis, what other option
  • 00:08:26.923 --> 00:08:30.293
  • do you have?
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  • What are the choice do you have?
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  • I mean, you think it was easyfor Paul to write those words,
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  • don't be bitter, don't be angry?
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  • Remember, he's in prison, he hasbeen unjustly incarcerated, he
  • 00:08:38.568 --> 00:08:46.042
  • has been unfairly treated, he'seventually going to have his
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  • head cut off just for tellingthe truth.
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  • Yet, you look with a microscopeor you look with a telescope,
  • 00:08:52.281 --> 00:08:55.451
  • you won't find any bitterness,any rage, any unresolved anger,
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  • any ill will in his heart.
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  • You know what's kindof interesting?
  • 00:09:01.591 --> 00:09:03.125
  • Here is Paul in jail trying totell us how to get out of jail.
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  • He said, "Get rid of yourbitterness," and his advice is
  • 00:09:07.797 --> 00:09:11.701
  • real straightforward, so here'swhat he's said.
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  • "Hey, got any bitter feelingstoward anybody today?"
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  • Yep, "Okay, get rid of them.
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  • You're still mad or ticked offwith somebody 'cause they really
  • 00:09:22.244 --> 00:09:24.780
  • messed you over?"
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  • Yeah, I really am.
  • 00:09:26.148 --> 00:09:27.483
  • "Walk away from it.
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  • You still find yourself, in yourmind, hanging people by their
  • 00:09:28.851 --> 00:09:31.487
  • toenails in vats of hot acid?"
  • 00:09:31.520 --> 00:09:35.257
  • Yeah, "Drop it, not them,drop it and move on."
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  • And listen, let me tell you whythis is such a big deal.
  • 00:09:41.664 --> 00:09:46.202
  • Bitterness can ruin your life.
  • 00:09:46.235 --> 00:09:49.972
  • As a matter of fact, it willfollow you to the grave after
  • 00:09:50.006 --> 00:09:53.442
  • you die and the only way to dealwith bitterness is to release it
  • 00:09:53.476 --> 00:09:58.214
  • and to get rid of it.
  • 00:09:58.247 --> 00:09:59.548
  • And I want you to understandsomething, I'm not saying you
  • 00:09:59.582 --> 00:10:01.584
  • just arbitrarily do it, I'm notsaying you just randomly do it,
  • 00:10:01.617 --> 00:10:04.854
  • I'm not saying it's like someballoon you just cut the string
  • 00:10:04.887 --> 00:10:07.657
  • and it floats off, here's whatI'm saying to you.
  • 00:10:07.690 --> 00:10:10.793
  • You got one of two choices youcan do with your bitterness:
  • 00:10:10.826 --> 00:10:14.296
  • You can carry it the rest ofyour life, or you can release it
  • 00:10:14.330 --> 00:10:19.769
  • to God.
  • 00:10:19.802 --> 00:10:21.671
  • You just give it to God, you letGod carry the weight of that
  • 00:10:21.704 --> 00:10:26.509
  • hurt, you trust God to deal withthat other person, you relax
  • 00:10:26.542 --> 00:10:30.813
  • your grip on that grudge you'vebeen carrying, you drop that
  • 00:10:30.846 --> 00:10:33.449
  • burden of bitterness that's beenweighing you down, 'cause
  • 00:10:33.482 --> 00:10:35.518
  • listen, let me tell yousomething.
  • 00:10:35.551 --> 00:10:36.886
  • If God can handle the wrongs wehave done to him, he can handle
  • 00:10:36.919 --> 00:10:42.692
  • the wrongs that peoplehave done to us.
  • 00:10:42.725 --> 00:10:46.062
  • So release your bitterness, getout of the jail, get out
  • 00:10:46.095 --> 00:10:51.634
  • of the prison.
  • 00:10:51.667 --> 00:10:53.202
  • Now that's step one, step two,you render forgiveness.
  • 00:10:53.235 --> 00:10:59.742
  • Now let me just go ahead andwarn you, it's easier to do the
  • 00:10:59.775 --> 00:11:02.645
  • first one than it is to do thesecond one but you'll never do
  • 00:11:02.678 --> 00:11:06.415
  • the second one until you do thefirst one, but when you truly do
  • 00:11:06.449 --> 00:11:09.685
  • the first one, you then willreally do the second one.
  • 00:11:09.719 --> 00:11:12.822
  • So the only way you'll ever befree to forgive you've gotta be
  • 00:11:12.855 --> 00:11:15.124
  • freed from being bitter, infact, let me give you a picture
  • 00:11:15.157 --> 00:11:18.027
  • right now.
  • 00:11:18.060 --> 00:11:19.361
  • If you're bitter towards anybodyright now, and some of you are,
  • 00:11:19.395 --> 00:11:22.631
  • if you're bitter towards anyoneright now, everybody hold your
  • 00:11:22.665 --> 00:11:25.334
  • hands out, do it just like this,just like that.
  • 00:11:25.367 --> 00:11:28.504
  • Alright, you're in handcuffs,whether you realize it or not,
  • 00:11:28.537 --> 00:11:33.008
  • you say, what kind of handcuffs?
  • 00:11:33.042 --> 00:11:34.744
  • Hate.
  • 00:11:34.777 --> 00:11:36.178
  • That's what bitterness does, itputs you in the handcuffs of
  • 00:11:36.212 --> 00:11:39.782
  • hate and until you're free, tillyou get those shackles off,
  • 00:11:39.815 --> 00:11:44.487
  • you won't forgive.
  • 00:11:44.520 --> 00:11:45.821
  • But when you finally say I don'twant those handcuffs anymore,
  • 00:11:45.855 --> 00:11:49.892
  • I'm not carrying that burdenanymore, I'm not bearing that
  • 00:11:49.925 --> 00:11:52.595
  • weight anymore, then you'refree, you're freed up
  • 00:11:52.628 --> 00:11:55.798
  • to render forgiveness.
  • 00:11:55.831 --> 00:11:57.133
  • So Paul goes on to say this,"Be kind and compassionate to
  • 00:11:57.166 --> 00:12:02.004
  • one another,forgiving each other."
  • 00:12:02.037 --> 00:12:04.807
  • Now I told you Paul would'vebeen a good psychologist because
  • 00:12:04.840 --> 00:12:08.144
  • before he asks us to forgive,he says, "Be kind and
  • 00:12:08.177 --> 00:12:12.782
  • compassionate," now whydoes he say that?
  • 00:12:12.815 --> 00:12:15.651
  • You know what the wordcompassionate literally means
  • 00:12:15.684 --> 00:12:17.686
  • in the Greek language?
  • 00:12:17.720 --> 00:12:19.021
  • It's actually aphysiological-medical term that
  • 00:12:19.054 --> 00:12:20.923
  • refers to the inside of what'sinside your chest, and what it
  • 00:12:20.956 --> 00:12:23.859
  • literally means is to betenderhearted.
  • 00:12:23.893 --> 00:12:28.731
  • Let me tell all of us somethingin this room right now.
  • 00:12:28.764 --> 00:12:32.368
  • I am not a cardiologist butthere's only two kinds of hearts
  • 00:12:32.401 --> 00:12:36.172
  • listening to me right now andthere's no in-between.
  • 00:12:36.205 --> 00:12:40.543
  • You either have a tough heart oryou've got a tender heart, you
  • 00:12:40.576 --> 00:12:46.982
  • either have a cold heart oryou've got a warm heart, you've
  • 00:12:47.016 --> 00:12:51.821
  • either got a hard heart oryou've got a soft heart,
  • 00:12:51.854 --> 00:12:56.725
  • and the reason why Paulsays this is this:
  • 00:12:56.759 --> 00:12:59.495
  • You can't be kind and bitter atthe same time, you can't be
  • 00:12:59.528 --> 00:13:04.400
  • tenderhearted and bitterat the same time.
  • 00:13:04.433 --> 00:13:08.003
  • You know I got to thinking aboutthis when I was working on this
  • 00:13:08.037 --> 00:13:10.005
  • message, I met a lot of peoplein my life, I've met thousands,
  • 00:13:10.039 --> 00:13:13.342
  • I've met tens of thousands ofpeople, I have never met a kind,
  • 00:13:13.375 --> 00:13:20.249
  • tenderhearted, bitter person.
  • 00:13:20.282 --> 00:13:23.786
  • I've met a lot of bitter people,I've met a lot of bitter people
  • 00:13:23.819 --> 00:13:29.491
  • but I've never met a kind,tenderhearted, bitter person.
  • 00:13:29.525 --> 00:13:33.896
  • Now Paul is setting us up forthe next step for forgiveness,
  • 00:13:33.929 --> 00:13:37.233
  • because I realize, look, I getit, I know I'm talking to people
  • 00:13:37.266 --> 00:13:40.369
  • right now, you're in bondage tothe master of bitterness and you
  • 00:13:40.402 --> 00:13:43.405
  • probably say, "I've gota right to be."
  • 00:13:43.439 --> 00:13:46.275
  • Maybe you're bitter toward Godbecause of a tragedy that
  • 00:13:46.308 --> 00:13:50.145
  • happened in your life and he letit happen, but what bitterness
  • 00:13:50.179 --> 00:13:54.817
  • starts only forgiveness can end,and if you refuse to forgive
  • 00:13:54.850 --> 00:13:58.988
  • someone who's done you wrong,here's what so bad, you're not
  • 00:13:59.021 --> 00:14:03.225
  • keeping the person who's sinnedagainst you locked in a prison
  • 00:14:03.259 --> 00:14:05.728
  • of bitterness.
  • 00:14:05.761 --> 00:14:07.162
  • Listen, do you know who's payingfor your bitterness right now?
  • 00:14:07.196 --> 00:14:11.033
  • You are, "I think about thatperson every day," I hate to
  • 00:14:11.066 --> 00:14:16.505
  • tell you this, they're notthinking about you.
  • 00:14:16.538 --> 00:14:20.910
  • "I dream about that person everynight," they're not dreaming
  • 00:14:20.943 --> 00:14:23.545
  • about you.
  • 00:14:23.579 --> 00:14:25.915
  • "Oh, I wish I could do somethingbad to that person everyday,"
  • 00:14:25.948 --> 00:14:28.317
  • they're not wishingthat about you.
  • 00:14:28.350 --> 00:14:30.486
  • You're the one losing sleep,you're the one who's developed
  • 00:14:30.519 --> 00:14:33.355
  • ulcers, you're the one who can'tenjoy life every time you think
  • 00:14:33.389 --> 00:14:36.091
  • about them, you're the oneliving under the searing heat of
  • 00:14:36.125 --> 00:14:39.561
  • bitterness, you're theone that's miserable.
  • 00:14:39.595 --> 00:14:41.797
  • By the way, let me tell youhow--Satan is so clever, he's
  • 00:14:41.830 --> 00:14:46.101
  • so clever, 'cause you knowwhat bitterness really is
  • 00:14:46.135 --> 00:14:49.805
  • at the end of the day?
  • 00:14:49.838 --> 00:14:51.173
  • You want to get even, that'swhat you want, "I just want
  • 00:14:51.206 --> 00:14:54.677
  • to get even."
  • 00:14:54.710 --> 00:14:56.011
  • Now let me just tell you howdumb that is, with all respect.
  • 00:14:56.045 --> 00:15:01.350
  • If someone has done you wrongthey're not above you,
  • 00:15:01.383 --> 00:15:06.555
  • they're beneath you,so guess what?
  • 00:15:06.588 --> 00:15:09.992
  • If you get even you're not goinghigher, you're going lower.
  • 00:15:10.025 --> 00:15:15.497
  • If you get even, you're notgetting ahead, you're getting
  • 00:15:15.531 --> 00:15:17.933
  • further behind.
  • 00:15:17.967 --> 00:15:19.601
  • If you get even, you're notbringing them up to your level,
  • 00:15:19.635 --> 00:15:23.205
  • you're sinking down to theirlevel, and you're sitting there
  • 00:15:23.238 --> 00:15:26.875
  • saying, "Well, so you just wantme to let them off the hook?"
  • 00:15:26.909 --> 00:15:30.346
  • It's worse than that, you'rethe one on the hook,
  • 00:15:30.379 --> 00:15:38.721
  • you understand that?
  • 00:15:38.754 --> 00:15:40.055
  • They're not on the hook, you'reon the hook, their guilt has
  • 00:15:40.089 --> 00:15:43.559
  • become the fuel for yourbitterness and in a strange way,
  • 00:15:43.592 --> 00:15:47.763
  • what you're doing to yourself isworse than what they have done
  • 00:15:47.796 --> 00:15:52.067
  • to you.
  • 00:15:52.101 --> 00:15:53.402
  • 'Cause listen, here's whathappens when you forgive.
  • 00:15:53.435 --> 00:15:55.371
  • When you finally forgive youactually set two people free,
  • 00:15:55.404 --> 00:15:59.241
  • you set them free from having toowe you and you set yourself
  • 00:15:59.274 --> 00:16:06.015
  • free from having to collectfrom them, but can I tell
  • 00:16:06.048 --> 00:16:10.552
  • you something?
  • 00:16:10.586 --> 00:16:11.954
  • There's nothing like beingemotionally free, morally free,
  • 00:16:11.987 --> 00:16:17.359
  • spiritually free, debt free,that's what happens when you
  • 00:16:17.393 --> 00:16:21.730
  • render forgiveness, but it stillgets better 'cause there's
  • 00:16:21.764 --> 00:16:27.069
  • a result, and this is what Godreally wants from us anyway.
  • 00:16:27.102 --> 00:16:30.939
  • You know what happens whenyou do these things, when you
  • 00:16:30.973 --> 00:16:33.876
  • release your bitterness,when you render forgiveness?
  • 00:16:33.909 --> 00:16:38.113
  • Here's what happens: youreproduce godliness,
  • 00:16:38.147 --> 00:16:42.084
  • you reproduce godliness.
  • 00:16:42.117 --> 00:16:43.452
  • Listen, you'll never releasebitterness and you'll never
  • 00:16:43.485 --> 00:16:46.755
  • render forgiveness till youreally want to, I get that,
  • 00:16:46.789 --> 00:16:49.091
  • listen, forgivenessis all about motivation.
  • 00:16:49.124 --> 00:16:50.959
  • And again, Paul's a masterpsychologist, Paul says, "Hey,
  • 00:16:50.993 --> 00:16:54.830
  • I'm not just going to tell youwhat you need to do, I'm not
  • 00:16:54.863 --> 00:16:58.901
  • even just going to tell you howto do it, I'm going to do
  • 00:16:58.934 --> 00:17:01.837
  • something that I know needs tohappen, I'm gonna tell you
  • 00:17:01.870 --> 00:17:05.140
  • why you need to do it."
  • 00:17:05.174 --> 00:17:06.475
  • 'Cause every leader knows this,every great leader will tell
  • 00:17:06.508 --> 00:17:08.310
  • you, the way you get people todo what you want them to do the
  • 00:17:08.343 --> 00:17:11.747
  • way you want them to do it isto tell them why they need
  • 00:17:11.780 --> 00:17:14.983
  • to do it.
  • 00:17:15.017 --> 00:17:16.318
  • So Paul plays the trump card,he plays the trump card.
  • 00:17:16.351 --> 00:17:19.988
  • People have done you wrong, yesthey have; they hurt you, yes
  • 00:17:20.022 --> 00:17:23.125
  • they have; they deserve to bepunished, yes they do,
  • 00:17:23.158 --> 00:17:27.196
  • but I want you toforgive them, why?
  • 00:17:27.229 --> 00:17:29.298
  • Watch this.
  • 00:17:29.331 --> 00:17:31.400
  • "Forgiving each other, just asin Christ, God forgave you."
  • 00:17:31.433 --> 00:17:39.441
  • The motivation is found insix words: "Just as God
  • 00:17:39.475 --> 00:17:44.813
  • has forgiven you."
  • 00:17:44.847 --> 00:17:46.281
  • God's forgiveness is both themodel and the motivation
  • 00:17:46.315 --> 00:17:49.952
  • for forgiveness.
  • 00:17:49.985 --> 00:17:51.286
  • So, I'm gonna give you thesecret of how to do it,
  • 00:17:51.320 --> 00:17:55.157
  • you ready?
  • 00:17:55.190 --> 00:17:56.492
  • I promise you, if you'll do thisone thing it's gonna change
  • 00:17:56.525 --> 00:18:00.696
  • your life, you ready?
  • 00:18:00.729 --> 00:18:02.531
  • Here we go.
  • 00:18:02.564 --> 00:18:04.833
  • Stop focusing on what othershave done to you and start
  • 00:18:04.867 --> 00:18:09.271
  • focusing on what Godhas done for you.
  • 00:18:09.304 --> 00:18:12.341
  • Stop focusing on what othershave done to you and start
  • 00:18:12.374 --> 00:18:15.811
  • focusing on what God hasdone for you, 'cause let me
  • 00:18:15.844 --> 00:18:18.981
  • tell you why.
  • 00:18:19.014 --> 00:18:20.616
  • If I were to say to you thismorning, have you really
  • 00:18:20.649 --> 00:18:22.551
  • experienced theforgiveness of God?
  • 00:18:22.584 --> 00:18:24.119
  • You say, "Oh, yes I have," andhave you really experienced
  • 00:18:24.153 --> 00:18:26.855
  • the grace of God?
  • 00:18:26.889 --> 00:18:28.223
  • "Oh, yes, I have," haveyou really experienced
  • 00:18:28.257 --> 00:18:29.791
  • the mercy of God?
  • 00:18:29.825 --> 00:18:31.160
  • "Oh, yes, I have," well thelitmus test of whether or not
  • 00:18:31.193 --> 00:18:34.530
  • you've really experienced thatis this: Are you willing to give
  • 00:18:34.563 --> 00:18:39.368
  • to others what God has givento you?
  • 00:18:39.401 --> 00:18:42.471
  • Are you willing to extendforgiveness to others that God
  • 00:18:42.504 --> 00:18:46.208
  • has given to you?
  • 00:18:46.241 --> 00:18:47.976
  • We are never more like God thanwhen we forgive, and when you
  • 00:18:48.010 --> 00:18:51.213
  • release bitterness and yourender forgiveness, you
  • 00:18:51.246 --> 00:18:55.117
  • reproduce godliness.
  • 00:18:55.150 --> 00:18:56.785
  • See, the simple reason why youought to be a forgiving person
  • 00:18:56.818 --> 00:19:00.622
  • is because you are a forgivenperson, 'cause by the way,
  • 00:19:00.656 --> 00:19:04.426
  • let me tell you something.
  • 00:19:04.459 --> 00:19:07.362
  • Only forgiven peopleforgive people.
  • 00:19:07.396 --> 00:19:12.901
  • Only forgiven people forgivepeople, forgiveness personally
  • 00:19:12.935 --> 00:19:18.473
  • received can never beforgiveness personally refused,
  • 00:19:18.507 --> 00:19:23.312
  • forgiveness experienced mustbecome forgiveness expressed.
  • 00:19:23.345 --> 00:19:27.149
  • God's not just the motivationfor our forgiveness, God is the
  • 00:19:27.182 --> 00:19:30.752
  • model for our forgiveness,so that raises a question.
  • 00:19:30.786 --> 00:19:36.925
  • How has God forgiven you?
  • 00:19:36.959 --> 00:19:38.260
  • You ever thought about this?
  • 00:19:38.293 --> 00:19:39.628
  • If I said to you,has God forgiven you?
  • 00:19:39.661 --> 00:19:40.963
  • You say, "Oh yeah, God'sforgiven me," have you ever
  • 00:19:40.996 --> 00:19:42.331
  • thought about howhas he done that?
  • 00:19:42.364 --> 00:19:44.299
  • What does hisforgiveness look like?
  • 00:19:44.333 --> 00:19:46.835
  • Well, let me give you threelittle quick words,
  • 00:19:46.868 --> 00:19:48.670
  • you'll remember this, alright?
  • 00:19:48.704 --> 00:19:50.172
  • Number one, God has forgiven usfreely, freely.
  • 00:19:50.205 --> 00:19:55.944
  • So, you say, "What do you mean?"
  • 00:19:55.978 --> 00:19:58.113
  • Alright, quick question,what did God charge you
  • 00:19:58.146 --> 00:20:03.352
  • to forgive you?
  • 00:20:03.385 --> 00:20:07.289
  • Nothing, did you get a billin the mail?
  • 00:20:07.322 --> 00:20:11.893
  • He sent a check?
  • 00:20:11.927 --> 00:20:13.395
  • You're making installments?
  • 00:20:13.428 --> 00:20:15.364
  • Didn't charge you anything, Godforgave us freely, oh, you know
  • 00:20:15.397 --> 00:20:19.201
  • why he didn't charge you?
  • 00:20:19.234 --> 00:20:21.436
  • Because he charged his son;remember, somebody's got to pay.
  • 00:20:21.470 --> 00:20:25.874
  • Forgiveness is not free,in a real sense it's not,
  • 00:20:25.907 --> 00:20:29.211
  • somebody has to pay.
  • 00:20:29.244 --> 00:20:30.579
  • So God forgave us freely becausehe charged his son.
  • 00:20:30.612 --> 00:20:34.383
  • See, sometimes here's where weare: we're willing to forgive
  • 00:20:34.416 --> 00:20:37.919
  • the principle of the crime afterwe've collected the
  • 00:20:37.953 --> 00:20:41.390
  • interest of revenge.
  • 00:20:41.423 --> 00:20:44.826
  • True forgiveness is free, nostrings attached, no fine print
  • 00:20:44.860 --> 00:20:50.599
  • at the bottom of the contract,no conditions.
  • 00:20:50.632 --> 00:20:53.535
  • God forgives us freely.
  • 00:20:53.568 --> 00:20:56.204
  • Number two, God forgives usfully, forgiveness is
  • 00:20:56.238 --> 00:21:00.942
  • not fractional.
  • 00:21:00.976 --> 00:21:02.711
  • See, some of you said this,"Well, this person has done
  • 00:21:02.744 --> 00:21:06.014
  • eight bad things to me, I tellyou what, I'll forgive
  • 00:21:06.048 --> 00:21:09.184
  • four of them."
  • 00:21:09.217 --> 00:21:11.053
  • No, it doesn't work that way,forgiveness is not a fraction.
  • 00:21:11.086 --> 00:21:15.390
  • Listen, what if God, thismorning, what if God decided,
  • 00:21:15.424 --> 00:21:18.460
  • what if he said, "You know,James, there's one part of one
  • 00:21:18.493 --> 00:21:24.533
  • fraction of one iota of onescintilla of one sin I just
  • 00:21:24.566 --> 00:21:31.373
  • can't get over."
  • 00:21:31.406 --> 00:21:33.975
  • I'm done, I'm not gettinginto heaven, I don't have
  • 00:21:34.009 --> 00:21:38.013
  • eternal life.
  • 00:21:38.046 --> 00:21:39.381
  • God said, "No, I forgive youfreely, I forgive you fully,
  • 00:21:39.414 --> 00:21:44.353
  • I forgive all of your sinsplural, I forgive all of your
  • 00:21:44.386 --> 00:21:47.856
  • sin singular."
  • 00:21:47.889 --> 00:21:49.191
  • When you forgive someone you gotto do it freely, you gotta do it
  • 00:21:49.224 --> 00:21:53.228
  • fully, and then, God forgives usfinally; finally, he canceled
  • 00:21:53.261 --> 00:21:59.034
  • the debt, you knowwhat that means?
  • 00:21:59.067 --> 00:22:00.502
  • That means the debt is erased,that means you open up the
  • 00:22:00.535 --> 00:22:03.271
  • ledger, there's nothing there,it is totally gone.
  • 00:22:03.305 --> 00:22:06.241
  • When you forgive a wrong, thewrong is gone, you don't hold
  • 00:22:06.274 --> 00:22:10.212
  • a grudge, you don't bring thesin back up, you wipe
  • 00:22:10.245 --> 00:22:13.014
  • the slate clean.
  • 00:22:13.048 --> 00:22:14.383
  • Now listen, people say, "Now areyou saying to forget it?"
  • 00:22:14.416 --> 00:22:16.551
  • No, I'm not, people say, "Well,forgive and forget," you can't
  • 00:22:16.585 --> 00:22:20.922
  • forget it, it's impossible,we're human.
  • 00:22:20.956 --> 00:22:25.560
  • What it means though is this,you can forgive to the point
  • 00:22:25.594 --> 00:22:28.096
  • where you say, "You know what,I will never forget what you've
  • 00:22:28.130 --> 00:22:32.534
  • done to me but I'm going to buryit, I'm going to walk away from
  • 00:22:32.567 --> 00:22:38.640
  • it, I'm going to put it in therearview mirror of my life
  • 00:22:38.673 --> 00:22:42.711
  • and I'm never goingto bring it up again."
  • 00:22:42.744 --> 00:22:45.647
  • And so here's where we are,let's just now, let's get it
  • 00:22:45.680 --> 00:22:48.049
  • real personal.
  • 00:22:48.083 --> 00:22:51.086
  • There's some of you listeningright now and you need to make
  • 00:22:51.119 --> 00:22:54.656
  • a decision: some of you need toget forgiveness for something
  • 00:22:54.689 --> 00:23:00.362
  • you did wrong to someone elseand you've never come clean with
  • 00:23:00.395 --> 00:23:03.532
  • it and you're in a prison ofguilt, others of you, you need
  • 00:23:03.565 --> 00:23:09.738
  • to come clean and you need togive forgiveness for what
  • 00:23:09.771 --> 00:23:13.108
  • someone else has done to you.
  • 00:23:13.141 --> 00:23:15.710
  • Now hear me clearly, there'sonly one place that'll happen,
  • 00:23:15.744 --> 00:23:20.549
  • it won't happen in this church,it won't happen in the seat
  • 00:23:20.582 --> 00:23:24.586
  • where you're sitting, it won'thappen in my office, it won't
  • 00:23:24.619 --> 00:23:28.457
  • happen in your home, the onlyplace that will happen is when
  • 00:23:28.490 --> 00:23:32.894
  • you go to thefoot of the cross.
  • 00:23:32.928 --> 00:23:35.864
  • And you kneel before the one whodied for your guilt and the one
  • 00:23:35.897 --> 00:23:39.468
  • who died for your bitterness,and then you go to him and you
  • 00:23:39.501 --> 00:23:42.771
  • say, "Lord, I'm bringing myguilt to you," and he says,
  • 00:23:42.804 --> 00:23:46.875
  • "I forgive you."
  • 00:23:46.908 --> 00:23:48.210
  • And then you leave there and yousay, "Lord, I'm taking your
  • 00:23:48.243 --> 00:23:50.979
  • forgiveness that you've given meto others," and then you
  • 00:23:51.012 --> 00:23:53.548
  • forgive others.
  • 00:23:53.582 --> 00:23:54.883
  • And then you're clear of guiltand your clear of bitterness,
  • 00:23:54.916 --> 00:23:57.586
  • and you can leave the wrong thatpeople have done to you, and the
  • 00:23:57.619 --> 00:24:00.455
  • people who did that wrong, youcan leave all of that at the
  • 00:24:00.489 --> 00:24:03.425
  • foot of the cross and trust himto take care of it.
  • 00:24:03.458 --> 00:24:08.163
  • And here's the great news:through Jesus you can get out
  • 00:24:08.196 --> 00:24:13.068
  • of that prison of guilt,you don't have to live in
  • 00:24:13.101 --> 00:24:16.238
  • that jail of bitterness.
  • 00:24:16.271 --> 00:24:18.340
  • Through Jesus you can experiencethe grace and forgiveness that
  • 00:24:18.373 --> 00:24:22.477
  • comes when he cancels your debt,and you can cancel the debt of
  • 00:24:22.511 --> 00:24:27.082
  • others, and I am tellingyou this.
  • 00:24:27.115 --> 00:24:30.519
  • Debt-free is the only way tolive and it's the only way
  • 00:24:30.552 --> 00:24:35.991
  • to die, and I wantto close with this,
  • 00:24:36.024 --> 00:24:38.660
  • bet you've neverthought about it.
  • 00:24:38.693 --> 00:24:42.130
  • If you die without Christ, ifyou die refusing the grace of
  • 00:24:42.163 --> 00:24:46.701
  • God that comes through thedeath, burial, and resurrection
  • 00:24:46.735 --> 00:24:48.904
  • of Christ, here's what you'regonna spend all eternity with,
  • 00:24:48.937 --> 00:24:52.274
  • you ready?
  • 00:24:52.307 --> 00:24:54.009
  • You're gonna live with the guiltof rejecting Jesus forever and
  • 00:24:54.042 --> 00:24:59.648
  • you're gonna live with thebitterness that you didn't
  • 00:24:59.681 --> 00:25:02.450
  • accept Jesus forever.
  • 00:25:02.484 --> 00:25:05.453
  • So I invite some of you heretoday, and I don't know who I'm
  • 00:25:05.487 --> 00:25:07.455
  • talking to but I am touchingsome big time nerves, Satan
  • 00:25:07.489 --> 00:25:12.227
  • wants you to ruin your life andlive your life looking through
  • 00:25:12.260 --> 00:25:16.665
  • the gates of guilt and lookingthrough the bars of bitterness
  • 00:25:16.698 --> 00:25:19.868
  • but Jesus came to set you free,and today, you can be free.
  • 00:25:19.901 --> 00:25:28.710
  • male announcer: To watch anextended version of today's
  • 00:25:28.743 --> 00:25:30.712
  • message from Dr. James Merritt,go to TouchingLives.org.
  • 00:25:30.745 --> 00:25:35.317
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:25:35.350 --> 00:25:45.327
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:25:45.360 --> 00:25:55.337
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:25:55.370 --> 00:26:05.280
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:26:05.313 --> 00:26:11.319
  • James Merritt: I have a questionfor you and it's a tough one,
  • 00:26:14.022 --> 00:26:16.658
  • are you more concerned with youroutward image then with
  • 00:26:16.691 --> 00:26:19.828
  • your inner qualities?
  • 00:26:19.861 --> 00:26:21.463
  • Most everybody struggles withthis question, myself included,
  • 00:26:21.496 --> 00:26:24.132
  • because we've been told,"Image is everything."
  • 00:26:24.165 --> 00:26:26.701
  • And this got me thinking, andeventually led me to write
  • 00:26:26.735 --> 00:26:28.970
  • a book, on the subjectof character.
  • 00:26:29.004 --> 00:26:31.239
  • You see, your reputation is whatothers think is true about you
  • 00:26:31.272 --> 00:26:34.909
  • but your character is who youreally are on the inside.
  • 00:26:34.943 --> 00:26:38.313
  • When it's all said and done,it's your character that counts.
  • 00:26:38.346 --> 00:26:42.217
  • I wanna invite you to order yourcopy of my new book, "Character
  • 00:26:42.250 --> 00:26:45.787
  • Still Counts," today, and beginto invest your life into
  • 00:26:45.820 --> 00:26:49.324
  • what matters most,your character.
  • 00:26:49.357 --> 00:26:51.860
  • Go to TouchingLives.org to orderyour copy of "Character Still
  • 00:26:51.893 --> 00:26:54.863
  • Counts" today,and remember this.
  • 00:26:54.896 --> 00:26:57.132
  • When you die, your reputationwill be gone forever,
  • 00:26:57.165 --> 00:27:00.135
  • but character will stickwith you for all eternity.
  • 00:27:00.168 --> 00:27:03.304
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:27:03.338 --> 00:27:12.347
  • male announcer: Touching thelives of the lost and enriching
  • 00:27:15.884 --> 00:27:18.586
  • the faith of the found, this is"Touching Lives,"
  • 00:27:18.620 --> 00:27:22.090
  • with Dr. James Merritt.
  • 00:27:22.123 --> 00:27:23.792
  • This broadcast is made possibleby the grace of God and
  • 00:27:23.825 --> 00:27:26.828
  • your faithful prayers and gifts.
  • 00:27:26.861 --> 00:27:29.564