Total Forgiveness – R.T. Kendall

Total Forgiveness – R.T. Kendall

– I’m so honored to be here. When I found out that Mark doesn’t have a different preacher every other week, but I’m the first in some time, I was so honored. And then when I heard that Grace would be here, I was doubly honored. But, I just watched the two of them, Mark and grace. I’ve got a question, Mark, I know you’re watching, and I say this in love, I look at you, and I look at Grace, I’m like, how did you get her? But as John F. Kennedy used to say, life’s not fair. It is true that Mark and I are on the same page theologically. And we hit it off quickly, and I’m honored to call him my friend and I’m very honored to be here. My son T.R. is here, he travels the world with me and we’re just thrilled to be here. I knew it would be hot but I wasn’t quite prepared for this. I did a tweet that afternoon on the church of the Laodiceans, they’re neither hot, nor cold, they’re lukewarm. This place ain’t that, I can take it. Well, let’s get started. I want to read to you from Genesis chapter 45. And this is the account where Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. I think it might be a good idea, for those who may not know the story, I bring you up to date. This is the moment that fulfilled a dream that Joseph had some 22 years before. Joseph as you may know, was the favorite son of Jacob. Jacob was not a good father, he showed favoritism, something a parent should never do. But he chose Joseph and made him this coat of many colors. And then on top of that, Joseph had prophetic dreams. You would think God would pass the gift to somebody else, but sometimes he just does that. And Joseph had this dream that one day his brothers would bow down to him. His mistake was telling the dreams to his brothers and they could take it no more. Well, he made it clear that one day they would bow out to him and it turns out that they were gonna kill him. The jealousy was overwhelming. He wore that coat of many colors, the only thing worse than giving it was wearing it. You would think he’d have a little bit of self-consciousness, no, he strutted around in that thing. And so they took that coat of many colors off his back, dipped it in blood and send it to old Jacob. They were gonna kill him but instead of killing them, they sold him to Ishmaelites, never expecting to see him again. And so when Jacob gets the coat of many colors, he takes the bait and says it’s Joseph’s. I will go to my grave in morning and the brothers tiptoed away. They thought they got away with it. The Bible says, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Well, what happened was the Ishmaelites, sold Joseph to Potiphar, an Egyptian officer and Joseph had never worked a day in his life but now he’s got a job, but God was with him and he did well and is promoted to lead the whole household, and he’s in charge. What he couldn’t have known that God had a trial for him. Now the Bible says, if a man is tempted, let no one say that God tempts anybody because you’re drawn away of your own lust. But what does happen is that God tests us and allows us to be in a situation. And so Joseph wasn’t ready for Potiphar’s wife to start flirting with him. And he kept saying no, and he kept saying no, and no, most people that I know that avoid an affair do so because they think they might get caught. Well, now Joseph had the chance for the perfect affair, he’s in Egypt, nobody knows him. Nobody in Canaan would ever find out. She’s not gonna tell her husband, but he had a reason for saying no, you know what it was? He says, God knows. How could I do this thing and sin against God? Well, the angel said, yes, Joseph felt nothing, he could not have known that he was earmarked to be prime minister of Egypt. Well, the thanks Joseph gets for resisting Potiphar’s wife is that he is slammed into a dungeon. And now for doing the right thing, he’s punished. I wonder if anybody here knows what it is to do the right thing but do you think because you’ve done the right thing, you’re gonna get rewarded and quickly. Well, can you imagine Joseph, he’s now in this dungeon and he’s probably said, thanks a lot God, I obey you. I do this, and this is what it comes to. Maybe you feel that way. You thought, because you did the right thing that you’d get immediate vindication. It didn’t happen that way with Joseph, but turned out, there were two more prisoners brought in. One, the Butler of the king Pharaoh, or if some would say the cup bearer to the king and the baker and they had dreams. And Joseph said, tell me your dream because now it looks like Joseph’s gift is gonna kick in. And sure enough, he interprets the dreams and says to the baker, bad news, you’ll lose your life in three days. To the cup bearer to the king, good news, you’re gonna get your job back. Then Joseph said something he shouldn’t have said. He said, remember me to the Pharaoh. I don’t belong here, I’ve done nothing, just remember me. J-o-s-e-p-h or however you spelled it in Hebrew or whatever language it was. And I think God looked down from heaven and said, oh, Joseph, you shouldn’t have said that. You’re gonna need a couple more years. What Joseph needed to learn is that God would use him without Joseph having to pull strings or use well connected people to move him on. And when it was obvious, Joseph was, you could say a dead duck. He had no future. God was at work. You would never have dreamed where God would at work. You would have thought, well, God would deal with Potiphar, convict him, but Potiphar’s wife gathered to repent and say that he didn’t really do it. There was, if you were imagining how to pray for Joseph, would you have thought to pray for the Pharaoh, but you see, God likes to do big things that no one would have thought of. And the Pharaoh has dreams and he cannot interpret them. And there’s a big commotion, they bring in the astrologers and magicians and the cup-bearer to the king overhears it. And he says, wait, wait, I remember my faults. I think I know someone that can help you. Joseph, a Hebrew who had no pedigree and no future, the last person on the planet you would have thought who would be influencing the Pharaoh. But you see, you have a gift unlike anybody else’s and you may not think your gift is valuable. Can you imagine if Joseph were to go into an employment agency in Phoenix and Joseph goes in, he says, I want a job. And they interview Joseph, well, tell us your name, Joseph, Good. What is it you do? He says dream. Right. Oh, I interpret dreams. Well, thank you very much, Joseph, we’ll be in touch with you. And you may feel that your dream or rather your gift is about like Joseph’s having dreams. But you see there came a time when Joseph was needed, his gift was needed, and you may feel that your gift is not needed. You may underestimate it, but God has a plan, he’s got something up his sleeve for you. And you may have wondered how long is it gonna be? How long you’ve cried, how long! But you see, God knows where you are and he knows just what you need and your time will come. And God is never too late. he’s never too early, he’s always just on time. When suddenly Joseph is told, shave, get dressed, you got to see the king. Well fast-forward, he interprets the dream. Pharaoh is so impressed that he makes him prime minister, governor of Egypt overnight, just like that. And as a result of that, he now had prophesied to the king and said it was gonna be seven years of plenty, seven years of famine. And if you’re smart, you get somebody in charge to take care of things for seven years. And the federal said, I don’t know of anybody better but you. Joseph wasn’t trying to promote himself, didn’t cross his mind that the Pharaoh would say that. But anyway, the dream was fulfilled perfectly. And now into two years in the feminine, everybody’s feeling it all over the world, back in Canaan and Joseph now see his brother’s coming. They have to buy food. He knows who they are, they don’t know who he is. He’s speaking through an interpreter. It’s been 22 years and he can’t believe it at first but when he sees them and there’s more to story, the details I can’t go into but we come now to the point where Joseph knows his dream is literally fulfilled before his eyes. So Genesis 45:1, “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “have everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so loudly that the Egyptians heard it. And the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers,” and he’s now speaking through an interpreter. I am your brother, I am Joseph. But then he makes a request and it says everybody get out of the room. Well, no one stood with him and suddenly begins to speak in Hebrew or whatever language it was without an interpreter. And they are crying, he’s crying and they cry on each other’s shoulders. But they’re at first scared to death when he says I am Joseph and they’re terrified. But then Joseph said to his brothers, verse four, come close to me. They couldn’t believe it. He just wanted to love on them. And as they came near, he said, “I’m your brother.” Yes, “whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed.” Do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. The famine has been in the land for two years and I can tell you now it’s gonna be another five years. Another five years. God sent me before you to preserve you for a remnant on earth and to keep alive many survivors and then comes the bottom line, it was not you who sent me here but God. May God be pleased to bless the reading and the preaching of this his most holy and infallible word. Brief word of prayer. Heavenly father asked now for the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus by your spirit to rest upon every person in this room in order that their perception what I say will be received as you intend. Cleanse my tongue that I will be your transparent instrument, to say everything that needs to be said, nothing that doesn’t need to be said. Helped me to be very, very clear, very, very simple. Let this be a life changing word. And dare I ask, that not one person here will ever be the same again. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

– [Crowd] Amen.

– The message that I believe I’m supposed to deliver was born in what was at the time, the darkest hour Louise and I had ever gone through. It was during those 25 years in London that your pastor referred to when he kind of introduced me, those 25 years, they were the best of times, they were the worst of times. And we went through the greatest trial ever. I cannot tell you the details ever, but I can always say this, the future was bleak and I was angry and I was bitter. How can this happen? How could God let this happen? Here we are Americans living in London, doesn’t anybody care. And what was going on was so wrong. In the Providence of God, an old friend from Romania, his name is Joseph Sung. He now lives in America, he lives in Portland, Oregon. We are still in touch. But at that time, he was from Romania and happened to be in London. And we had met before and I felt at liberty to confide in him, knowing he wouldn’t tell anybody. So I told Joseph what happened. When I finished, he said, is there anything more? I said, no, that’s it. I wasn’t prepared for what followed. If I could narrow 25 years in London down to 15 minutes, they would turn out to be my finest hour. It’s when Joseph looked at me and said, R.T., you must totally forgive them, for until you totally forgive them, you will be in chains, release them and you will be released. Nobody had ever talked to me like that in my life. Then I said, Joseph, I just remembered, I haven’t told you everything. Let me tell you my, R.T. he interrupted. And I can hear him now in his Romanian accent, you must totally forgive them, for until you totally forgive them, you will be in chains. Release them and you will be released. I said, Joseph, I can’t. He said, you can and you must. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Almost certainly the hardest thing you ever have to do. And that’s when you let your enemy off the hook and set him free, that’s when those who have betrayed you, you pray for them. And by the way, when you pray for your enemy, you don’t just say heavenly father, I just commit them to you, I just commit them to you, because you’re hoping God will kill ’em. That is not what Jesus had in mind. He said, love your enemies and pray for them. And you actually pray for them to be blessed. You say, R.T., I can never do that. I understand. It goes right against nature. Now, total forgiveness you see is not agreeing with them. Jesus found a woman in adultery, and she was set free, but he said, go and sin no more. So he sided with her in that sense. And so when you forgive your enemy, it doesn’t mean you agree with what they did, it does mean that you actually kiss vindication goodbye

– [Crowd Attendant] Yeah.

– And you bless them. Now we’ve all got a story to tell. If I told you more, you might have a little sympathy with me, but I dare say, if I heard your story, I may blush to think that I suffered at all. In fact, I guarantee there are many here today suffered far more than anything I’ve gone through. Maybe your spouse betrayed you, maybe you’re the victim of racial prejudice, maybe your parents deserted you. I could go on and on. And if we heard your story and we agree nobody in the state of Arizona has suffered like you, and we hear what you’ve been through, we ask, what do you think of that, we agree that you’ve suffered more than anybody, would you then say, well now, see there, that lets you know what I’ve gone through. And God would not expect me to forgive that. Listen to me, we all look for a loophole whereby in our case, we don’t have to do it. What you don’t realize is the greater the suffering, the greater the anointing.

– [Crowd] Yes, yes.

– I have one hope that you’re gonna listen to me, only one, only one. And that is, if somebody here, you want a greater anointing of the holy spirit. Now if you want a greater anointing of the holy spirit, stay where you are, you’ve come to the right place. But you may not like it. It may be medicine, not pleasant, but I can tell you it’s worth it all. And I guarantee the day will come that you will be able to say as Joseph did at the end of his life, God meant it for good, but only to the degree that you let them off the hook and you forgive them totally. Well you say R.T., I’ve done that. I believe you. But if I were to be able to show in the next 20 minutes that you haven’t totally forgiven after all, would you then do it? That’s the deal. Proposition. Because before the service is over, we’ll come to decision time and you can decide if you really want to forgive them. So what are the proofs, the evidences that you have totally forgiven them? You ready? Proof number one, you don’t let anybody know what they did to you. This is it, listen, Joseph says, make everyone go out from me, everybody leave the room. Members of the cabinet perhaps standing there or sitting there. The aids, important people, the translator, out! Everybody’s out. And now Joseph with his 11 brothers behind closed doors says to them, I’m Joseph. They’re terrified. Why did he make everybody leave the room? It’s because he’s going to persuade them to come and live in Egypt. He wants to make sure nobody in Egypt ever gets word of what those brothers had done to him 22 years ago. He realizes that he’s popular, he’s a hero in Egypt. He saved Egypt. Everybody in Egypt looked up to Joseph. And if they got wind of what those brothers had done to him, they would hate them. The funny thing is Joseph at one time, that’s what he wanted. You see in our initial stages of being hurt, the first thing we want to do is tell everybody what they did to us. We can’t wait for the world to know. We cannot bear the thought that somebody could be admired who’s hurt us like they’ve hurt us. Joseph knew that that word would make those brothers unwelcome. He wanted them to be heroes, proof that you have totally forgiven. You don’t tell anybody. And there is two exceptions, one, you need to tell one other person for therapeutic reasons. I told Joseph. Find somebody who won’t tell, you can tell one, not two, not 10, not 500, one. The other exception, I had a woman come in the vestry and she said, they had found my rapist. I said, isn’t that amazing? Yes, but they want me to testify against him in a court of law. I said, well, you must. Oh, Dr. Kendall’s, you’ve taught me to forgive and I forgiven him. I said, I believe you and that’s wonderful. You have forgiven him, but this isn’t personal. This is just answering their questions. So she did. A crime must be reported.

– [Crowd] Hmm.

– But what’s the real reason we tell it? When we get hurt, we’re on the phone, well, here’s what happened to me, here’s what they did to me. By the way, how would you like it if God told what he knows about you?

– [Crowd] Ooh!

– What if on this screen were your name and God spills the beans. How many here are ready for the rest of the audience to know what God knows about you? Would you please stand? I got to one place, I didn’t wanna say that because I had somebody stand but they didn’t know what I meant. If God were to tell you what he knows about me, that screen wouldn’t do it. We’d have to have screens all over this auditorium, but you will never know. Because as far as the east is from the west, so far are our transgressions removed from us because the blood of Jesus Christ washes away all sin and you will never know.

– [Crowd] Amen. But the reason we tell it is that we can’t bear the thought. You see it’s our way of punishing that person. Perfect love casts out fear says John, fear has to do with punishment. You wanna punish? I can tell you now total forgiveness, you tell nobody. You can tell God, Psalm 142:1, “Pour your complaint out to the Lord.” He can take it, he’s got big shoulders. I think of the old spiritual that came out of the cotton fields of Alabama in the 19th century, ♪ Nobody know the troubles I’ve seen, ♪ ♪ nobody knows but Jesus. ♪ God likes it that way. Tell him, but don’t tell anybody else. Proof number two, you don’t let them be afraid of you. And so here they were scared to death. And Joseph knew that, he could see it. He says, come here, come, come, come close to me. He just wanted to love on them but they couldn’t believe it. Yes. You see when a person’s hurt us, and they know they’ve been found out, in anyway we want to see them squirm, make them nervous. You walk into the room and they freeze and you think, oh good, I love it. You don’t let them be afraid of you. You see husband and wives play this game. Keep the other nervous. This message could heal any marriage on the rocks by sundown today.

– [Crowd] Amen.

– If both of you will stop pointing the finger. You say, well, I will when she does. Well, I will when he does. No, here’s your opportunity to show whether you want the honor of God or just to get even. This is why I said, this is for the one who wants a greater anointing and you do it if the other doesn’t do it. Instead of making them nervous, making them squirm, love on them. Don’t let them even worry. You don’t wanna hurt them, you don’t want them to be afraid of you, but proof number three, you don’t even let them feel guilty. Oh, that’s not fun. But here’s what he says, “I’m your brother whom you sold into Egypt, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves.” Amazing. He’s making it easy for them to forgive themselves. Don’t be angry with yourselves. You say, well, I forgive them. If they’re sorry, this is the loophole many retreat to. I got a man who phones and I didn’t phone him, But he writes me once a year, trying to defend his case that you don’t have to forgive unless they’re sorry. Well, I’m gonna tell you, I say to him, you’ve carved out a way that you’ll go to your grave in bitterness.

– [Crowd] Amen.

– Don’t wait for them to be sorry, you’re gonna wait forever. And you may say to somebody, well, I forgive you but I hope you feel bad about it. You still, you see you’re not ready. And don’t be surprised if the person you have to forgive is someone close to you or dare I say it, just between you and me, somebody in the church. Hmm. You know the poem, when we get to heaven, we’ll live with the saints in glory. What a day that will be, but living with the saints below, that’s another story. Don’t be surprised. And if you wait for them to be sorry, and by the way, oh, when this sermon is over, don’t walk across the room and go up to somebody and say, well now, in the light of R.T.’s sermon, I forgive you. And they will say, for what? And you will say, you know. Well, I don’t know you do. I don’t, well, you should! And now you’ve got to fight, which is what you wanted. Don’t ever, ever say to a person, I forgive you, ever, unless they’re asking for it, that’s different. But you don’t up to them and, I forgive you, you’re just trying to stick the knife in a little bit more. And the people that I had to forgive, you know what? They never did change. Never, never. And I’ll tell you another, we became friends. We never talked about it. No need to, they hadn’t changed. But they could tell that I had forgiven him, I didn’t have to tell them anything. You don’t tell what they did, you don’t let them be afraid of you. You let make it easy for them to forgive themselves. And here is a big one, proof number four, you let them save face. It’s an oriental expression. But a Korean friend of mine says it actually came from Aristotle. Whatever, you let them save face. Instead of rubbing their nose in it, you give them a way out where they can even feel good. Dale Carnegie in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and it’s not a Christian book, but Christians should read it. He said, let the other man or woman save face. He says, you will win a friend for life when you let somebody save face. How did Joseph do it? well, it’s right here? He said, the famine is on for another five years. He said, and you need to know that God sent me ahead of you. It shouldn’t surprise you, because after all, God had told our grandfather, Abraham that his seed would be coming up out of Egypt. Somebody had to get here first. And God said, hmm, Joseph, you go first. He said, I just got here ahead of you. And then he said, it wasn’t you who sent me here, it was God. They can’t believe their luck that the man that they were gonna kill and then sold to the Israelites is now saying, God is at the bottom of it all. You talk about letting them save face. They couldn’t believe it. God will make you a hero with that person who never dreamed, you could be like that. I would urge you if you follow that with somebody, act in such a way that one day they come around and say, I don’t know how you did it because one day you might be friends again. Not always, because total forgiveness is not reconciliation. Total forgiveness may not be reconciliation at all but even be best that there is no reconciliation. And for all, if your wife sleeps with your best friend, you forgive them, but you don’t go on holiday together. If a child molester is converted, you forgive them but you don’t let them teach a Sunday school class. Some common sense here, but it has to do with attitude. And you let them save face. And you see for the brothers, it was too good to be true. It was too good to be true. And this could be a good time just to preach the gospel, I won’t. I’d like to, but I don’t think you need that if I’m honest. But I’ll say this, until the gospel was too good to be true, you hadn’t heard it yet. When you hear the gospel and you think, that’s it, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I transfer my hope in my works to what Jesus did on the cross. That’s it. That’s too good to be true. That’s when you’ve heard the gospel, until it was too good to be true you haven’t heard it yet. But let’s move on. Proof number five, you protect them from their darkest secret. You see these brothers are saying to themselves well and good that our brother has forgiven us but you know what he’s gonna do next. He’s gonna make us go back to Canaan, tell our dad what we did about that coat of many colors. They would rather die than have to face their father with the truth. Joseph knew that, he won’t let them. He won’t let them, read the rest of the story. He writes the script for them. Hey, won’t let them tell the old man. Chances are you know something about somebody that if that were told, would destroy them. And maybe they worry that you’re gonna tell it, assure that person no one will ever know. We’ve all got skeletons in the closet. Don’t look pious at me, there’s not one halo in this room. God is an anxious to yank the skeleton out and embarrass us in front of everybody. No, but the wonderful thing is you keep certain secrets and Joseph let them not only save face, but protected them from their greatest fear. Proof number six, total forgiveness is a life sentence. Here’s what I mean. Your physician gives you a pill and says, you’ll have to take this the rest of your life. There’s some things that never get better but you can extend your life and it’d be fine, I take Nexium every day. Stomach acid, shouldn’t tell that ’cause always five people comes up. I can tell you how you don’t have to take Nexium anymore. The point is, I live with it, it’s acid reflux and I’m doing okay, I’ve had it for 25 years. Life sentence. And total forgiveness is a life sentence. You got to keep doing it. Husband says to the wife, I thought you forgave me. She says, well, that was yesterday. hmm. See, you’ve got to do it today, tomorrow, next week, next year. And as long as you live. Once in a while they’ll turn around and change. And if you need evidence that you don’t wait for them to be sorry, I would take you to . When Jesus looked at the soldiers, and the priests, and says, father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. They weren’t repenting, they weren’t repenting. And here’s your chance just to be like Jesus, they don’t know. That is your opportunity. And you keep doing it. This is where the anointing kicks in. When you just keep doing it, keep doing it. Years later, finally total forgiveness is when you bless them as Joseph did, you see, that’s Joseph still forgiving them, because 17 years later old Jacob dies and the brothers panic and they come running to Joseph and said Joseph but before dad died, they make up this story, before dad died, he told us to tell your place, forgive us. And Joseph starts to cry and says, I told you 17 years ago I forgave you. I forgave you then, I forgive you now. You see it was still working, just not a one off where he can do something and say, God, see what I did, no, he really had forgiven them. It was real. This is not a phony thing, this is absolutely real, or it won’t work. But if you totally forgive, believe me, you have no idea what could be coming down the road for you. And so Joseph then blesses them, 17 years later, he still forgave them. And when you can pray for them and mean it and that’s not easy. Never will forget, we were singing the great hymn in Westminster, ♪ Praise my soul, the king of heaven. ♪ I led the worship in those days. And as we’re seeing this great English hymn, comes in a person, comes in and sits on the fourth row from the back in the middle. That person has done irreparable emotional damage to one of our children. And I lost it. I just had to mouth the words. Then the scripture reading, then another hymn. And then, in those days, the prayer, long prayer went 7, 8, 10 minutes. I don’t know how I did it, I could hardly bear it. Well, how could she be here? What’s the matter with that woman? Why should she come in and say, heavenly father we love thee with all ours, and all that. It was so hard. What saved me was offering time. And soon the secretary comes up and head deacon gives and notices, welcomes the visitors and then they take up the offering and I’m sitting right here, and I’ve got about five minutes to think about it. I wasn’t prepared for this, hasn’t happened before or since but it was like the holy spirit entered into a conversation. And I don’t say this is verbatim, but it’s pretty close. So R.T., you wanna see revival in Westminster Chapel, is that right? Yes, Lord. Yes. Good. How much do you wanna see revival? Oh, a lot. Which would you rather have, revival or for me to send judgment on that woman out there? Revival. Good, pray for her. I pray for her. Do you mean it? Yep. Say it again. I pray for her. Say it again. I pray for her. Ask me to bless her. Bless her. And what if I answer your prayer and take you seriously, and I bless her? Lord, you wouldn’t do that, would you? But that’s the point. I had to start saying it, I wasn’t gonna be able to preach that day if I didn’t ’cause the sermon hadn’t even come yet. I said, bless her. Bless her, bless her, it was killing me. And I knew God was listening and he heard my prayer. That woman thrives today. Whether in heaven, I can resist walking up to her and say, I know why God blessed you. But I’ll tell you something, from that day, I got more insight into the Bible than I’ve ever had before. I’ve written a few books. People think it’s my education. I don’t say, Oxford, Cambridge, it’s Oxford. Now there are some who have been to Cambridge, Oxford. Don’t insult the Oxford people by saying Oxford, Cambridge, that’s called the other place. I understand comes here once in a while, Cambridge. He needs to be humbled. People think it’s my education. I’m telling you, I had nothing to do with that. It’s the anointing. Right now, I have more books in me that I will ever live long enough to, the thoughts, the anointing, he’ll do it for you. Does it mean you’ll be an author, but you have a gift that nobody else has and God is waiting and you’ve cried out, how long, how long before that prophetic gift is used or that word was given to me will be fulfilled? And I have come to tell you how long, as long as it takes to get you to the place Joseph got to and forgave his brothers Sermon’s over. But, I have a minute or two more that I need to say this to you. I made a deal, whether you accepted it, I do not know. Here was the proposition, that if I were to show that you haven’t totally forgiven after all, would you then do it? Decision time, it’s come. I’m gonna ask you to do something. I don’t know what your custom is here, I haven’t asked, but I’m gonna ask you to do something that you certainly didn’t plan to do, one minute from now, not yet. 55 seconds from now, I want you if you’re ready to forgive to stand up. Don’t stand, unless by standing, you’re prepared to say, I won’t tell what they did. Oh, R.T., it’s too late, I’ve already done it. Don’t do it anymore. Don’t stand unless you’re prepared to say, I won’t let them be afraid of me. I will let them save face. I will protect them from their deepest secret. It will be a life sentence, 30 seconds from now, you say in front of all these people. Yep. You see the test, whether you want God to look down or are you trying to get people to be impressed with you? 20 seconds. You won’t let them be afraid of you. You pray for them. They may never come around. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. If you have prepared to forgive, totally, I’ll ask you right now, stand to your feet. I’ll wait 15 seconds, anybody else? Don’t miss this moment. It may not come around just like this. Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call upon while he his near. Now, to show that you really meant it, I know several are standing and that may not work, but I’m gonna ask you now to come to the front right here and stand, leave the seat where you’re standing and come down to the front, all of you and we’re just gonna pray together. Come quickly. Make room. It’s possible that I shouldn’t have done this ’cause I can’t see, I can’t see too well from the lights, but I want you not to leave until we’ve prayed. Let me just say what you’re doing now is the easy part, the hard part will be tomorrow morning when you’re having a cup of coffee, you’ll say, I can’t believe I did that. Talk about it again, you think, what came over me? Now look, we haven’t prayed yet. We’re gonna go into a covenant. A covenant is a very, very serious thing to do. All covenants in the Bible were accompanied with a shedding of blood, that’s how serious it was. Now we’re under the blood shed 2000 years ago. And so you need to say what you mean and mean what you say. I’m gonna give you a prayer to pray. Say it if you mean it, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. I’m not gonna look and see who’s praying. It’s not between you and me anyway. Maybe I’ll never see you again. It’s between you and God. If you’re ready, you might just put your hands like this and say, Lord Jesus, out loud, Lord Jesus. I need you.

– [Crowd] I need you.

– I want you.

– [Crowd] I want you.

– I’m sorry for my sins.

– [Crowd] I’m sorry for my sins.

– I’m sorry for my bitterness.

– [Crowd] I’m sorry for my bitterness.

– Forgive me.

– [Crowd] Forgive me.

– I forgive them.

– [Crowd] I forgive them.

– You forgive them.

– [Crowd] You forgive them.

– I bless them.

– [Crowd] I bless them.

– You bless them.

– [Crowd] You bless them.

– I set them free.

– [Crowd] I set them free.

– I set them free.

– [Crowd] I set them free.

– I set them free!

– [Crowd] I set them free!

– Come holy spirit.

– [Crowd] Come holy spirit.

– Thank you for your patience with me.

– [Crowd] Thank you for your patience with me.

– As best as I know how, I give you my life.

– [Crowd] As best as I know how, I give you my life.

– In Jesus name.

– [Crowd] In Jesus name.

– Amen.

– [Crowd] Amen.

– I’m finished, God bless you

– Thank you so.

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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