Practical Application of the Word of God
As Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread rapidly approach, it is fitting to consider the deeper aspect of how we take the Passover and go into the Days of Unleavened Bread (as a brief aside, the Days of Unleavened Bread should be a time in which we, as we eat physical unleavened bread daily, as God commands us, and continue – or start, if we’ve been neglecting this in favor of what humans say God says [study thoroughly John 6 and John 17 for Christ’s own words about the Bread, the Word, and the Truth we should be immersed in continually] – look at the areas in our lives that need to be either unleavened or more unleavened going forward through the rest of our lives).
The core part of becoming more unleavened is putting on the mind of Jesus Christ (John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” and the same is true for you and me spiritually, and it’s the war we fight for as long as we live, with many defeats in the battles along the way that make up this war).
Obviously, without God’s help through His spirit and His word, this is impossible for us to do. And even with God’s spirit and God’s word, our mere dirt-and-water existence means that we, in this form, can barely understand the depth and the riches of the mind of Christ, which is also the mind of God.
We often deceive ourselves into thinking – and believing – that we know and understand more about God, Jesus Christ, and the word of God than we actually do, or are even capable of in the human realm.
The reality is we don’t know much of anything comparatively speaking, and assuming anything different is hubris and a lack of humility before Almighty God.
However, having said that, we are not completely without understanding, through Jesus Christ’s own words and the words written about Him, what some of things that reflect the mind of Christ look like.
And then there’s this in Luke 23:34, right before Christ died: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Paul was inspired by God to say to us in I Corinthians 11:27 that, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”
One of the ways in which we can take the Passover in an unworthy manner is by an attitude of unforgiveness. Of people, of things, of situations.
Wherever in our lives, we have not yet, not only said, but actually done and meant it from the heart, “I forgive…,” we are unforgiving and we will be taking the Passover in an unworthy manner.
Because at the heart of the Passover service is Christ’s sacrifice – the blood of the Lamb – so that we can be forgiven of our sins, our trespasses, and our iniquities against God.
Matthew 6 and Matthew 18 talk extensively about how God’s forgiveness has to be a catalyst for our forgiveness of all perceived or actual wrongs done against us in our lives. If we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven. It’s that simple.
Being unwilling to forgive is often because of unresolved – and unrighteous – anger. I would encourage us all to listen to and act accordingly upon one of the best sermons I’ve heard on the subject of anger before we appear before God and Jesus Christ at the Passover service.
It is not a sin to be angry. But we often sin in how we respond to and deal – or don’t deal with – our anger.
What does unrighteous anger look like?
You and I don’t have to be overtly screaming, yelling, ranting, and raving to have unrighteous anger. Our behavior is what gives us away: tone of voice, the words we choose, and the things we do on an every day basis are the dead giveaways.
These are the questions we must ask ourselves today.
Who and/or what do I hold a grudge against? Who and/or what am I bitter about? Who and/or what do I resent? Who and/or what am I trying to hold hostage by being the victim and laying blame at their feet? Who and/or what do I avoid because I believe they’ve been unfair to me or they’ve betrayed me in some way?
(We need to remember and really deeply think about the fact that Jesus Christ suffered a lot of grievous wrongs, including betrayal, abandonment, denial, false accusations, disrespect, physical pain, mental pain, emotional pain, and spiritual pain – and beyond anything you and I have truly faced in the totality that He did – before He spoke the words in Luke 23:34 before we decide we want to hang on to all the perceived or actual wrongs we believe have been done to us.)
All of these are manifestations of unrighteous anger. They are also manifestations of hate.
And they are manifestations of unforgiveness.
The reality is that if we take the Passover with these intact, then we will be taking the Passover in an unworthy manner.
I can certainly look back on one particular Passover in my own life where I was guilty of taking the Passover in an unworthy manner because I was struggling and failing to be able to forgive someone (I went to God with it every day and said, “I want to forgive this person and I don’t want to be unforgiving,” but in that one instance, it took time and the Passover came before the time it took materialized).
And I don’t ever want to be in that position again. Ever.
So anger and forgiveness are two top-of-the-list things I take to God every day in prayer because although I can usually forgive quickly, this incident stays at the front of my mind as a reminder that I can also not forgive quickly given the right perfect storm of events and life.
There will be other perfect storms of events and life that will occur for as long as I breathe.
By focusing on handling my anger in a godly way – ruling over it instead of letting it rule over me (and, believe me, this is one of the key battles in my spiritual life) – and forgiving quickly (remembering that forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing, and forgiving someone doesn’t mean I’ll be reconciled to them in this life either because they don’t want to be reconciled or it would be spiritually damaging to me to bring them back into my life), with God’s help, I’m putting on the mind of Christ as my default response when people, things, and situations go south.
Forgiveness is at the crux of the Passover and we can’t expect God to accept our observance that night as worthy if we have any trace of unforgiveness still left in our own lives when we appear before Him and Jesus Christ.
Will we take this Passover in an unworthy manner?