Forgiven

Have you ever wanted to have the final word? Have you ever wanted to be the one who makes the decision after hearing all that others have to say? I am sure at times it would be a welcome task and at other times it would be a difficult task. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Who has the final word when you are trying to figure out how to set up a race car? I think the man who turns the wrench ultimately decides. The driver has input, the crew chief has the decision to make, but ultimately the guy that sets the tire pressure, the guy that adjusts the chassis or shock has the final say. He actually does it.

I have had times when I had the last word, it comes with any leadership position, when all is said and done the leader has the final word. The leader has to decide what was said that was significant. They have to set a direction. Having the final word carries a great responsibility.

Do we understand the significance of final words? In court there is a thing called a death bed confession that is taken as absolute truth. Why? The person has nothing to lose, they are dying. No need to hide things or keep secrets. It is a good time to clear all the burdens you have been carrying your whole life.

Most times we don’t know what our last words will be; we don’t know the last time we will talk with someone. I have helped people through it many times, when someone is getting close to death. There is a mental checklist they go through and when they complete the list it is time to go home.

When my Grandmother was close to death I asked about her last comments. My Uncle shared them with me. I noticed that everything was in place and instructed my uncle to say goodbye to her for the last time, her list was complete. He wasn’t sure how I knew but he took my direction, he hugged her, said he loved her and said goodbye. That night she went home.

Last words are significant, especially when you know they are your last words. Christ hung on the cross and knew the time had come to finish what he came to earth for. He shared with us seven things from the cross. Knowing that these were the last things he would say we need to explore them and see what he was teaching us.

Over the next few weeks I would like to talk about Christ’s final words from the cross. If you knew, like Christ knew, these were the final seven things you would say, what would you say? What would you share?

Our true nature is revealed when we are at the end of our life and we speak our final words. The things we say let people know what is in our heart, what we truly think and how we feel about certain things. When we speak our last words we only talk about what is important to us, no time for small talk.

I cannot paint the entire scene for you here, it would take up too much space. There are a couple of things you can do to help yourself understand the condition and position Christ was in when he spoke these words. First, if you have the opportunity watch the movie “The Passion of the Christ” that Mel Gibson produced. It is graphic, but it is accurate. It will help you understand how far Christ was willing to go to save us from our sin.

Second, read the Gospel accounts of the events leading up to the crucifixion; Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15; Luke 2-23, John 18-19. They will give you several accounts of how the events leading up to the crucifixion are recorded for us in Scripture. They will help you know Christ and his walk to Golgotha, the place of the scull.

These will set the scene for the final words of Christ. Significant in that they reveal the heart of the one who came to save us, the one who came to give his life for us, the one who came to show us how to serve God, the one who came.

As we reflect on His final words think about how we speak to others. Think about the words we say. Think about the fact that the words we say may be the last words that we say to someone. Take the time and let people know how much you care for them.

Every time we leave someplace or someone there are words that are said that leave a lasting impression. My wife and I are in the habit of saying I love you when we close a conversation. It may not seem important but if they happen to be the last words she ever hears from me I want her to know how much she means to me.

We have many relationships in life and racing. Sometimes we take them for granted and don’t realize the significance of what we say. Remember that the words we speak may very well be the last words we will say to someone. Make them worthwhile.

Luke 23:32-34; Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Jesus knew the time had come, he hung on the cross, soon he would breath his last, but who was he thinking of? Who did he have on his mind? Despite the pain and suffering he wasn’t thinking of himself. Jesus prayed.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Now for Jesus praying wasn’t out of the ordinary, but the subject of his prayer helps us understand his character. He didn’t pray for himself, he didn’t pray for mercy, he didn’t pray for relief, He prayed for his enemies. He prayed that God would forgive those who had beaten, mocked and crucified him.

How many times have we prayed to God for our enemies? Alright now how many times have we asked God to forgive them? We pray for them alright, but we pray that God would somehow cause pain and suffering to come upon them. When we talk to God about our enemies it is unusual for us to ask for their forgiveness.

Christ helps to understand that he meant it when he said love your enemies. He demonstrates it for us even in the hour of his greatest need. I would ask you this week to consider the example Christ has set for us, go to God and ask him to forgive your enemies.

I am reminded of the Lord’s Prayer; the one Jesus gave us as a guide to learn how to pray. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Jesus was consistent in his teaching of forgiving those who sin against you. It is a significant teaching of Jesus; we should embrace it and practice it. Our own forgiveness depends on how we forgive others.

May the final words we utter to others contain the grace that Christ demonstrated on the cross as he asked God to forgive those who nailed him to the cross. Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

28.4.2019
 

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