Abusing power for violence- Unforgiveness a life behind bars.
Many today may seek positions of power and want to rise to greatness- the problem that can easily come though from the fallen sinful heart is using power for personal revenge or violence.
The Bible condemns this behavior. The Pharisees fit this bill quite well, so did the princes of Israel in Ezekial 22:6, as well as Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:10-23
“ ‘See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood. (Ezekiel 22:6)
and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
[Acts 8:10-23 -]
There is a problem with all of us though, we are sinful – and any human being growing in power without yielding to a reverence and respect for God can easily become spoiled by desire to misuse power to his or her own unjust gain or personal revenge. In contrast, we see people who used there place of power for benevolent good such as Joseph in the book of Genesis. He forgave his brothers who had sold him as a slave years before and used his power to save their lives and their nation.
As Christians, whether small or great, well known or inconspicuous, God calls us to not misuse what position we have.
Vital key to Christian living is “Forgiveness”—we are called to
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. [Ephesians 4:30-32]
In order to progress in our walks with the Lord Jesus Christ we have to deal with bitterness and unresolved anger. It does not mean what others have done is right, or excusable, but first: We have been forgiven so much in Christ Jesus. And witholding forgiveness is not seeing how great our own sin cost Jesus who suffered sinlessly for us. Secondly, forgiveness entrusts God as superior judge of these people and puts Him on His rightful throne to deal with them as he sees fit to.
God is serious about sin far more then any human could be. Sin meant Christ suffered unjustly and lost his life because that was the only sacrifice that could make any of us forgiven. Also, we sin ourselves and have created pain and suffering for others in ways we may never realize and also grieve God when we sin, so to think we can be rightful judges of others sets us up to be hypocrites and tells God he is not smart enough to handle others who sin. That is dumb. God knows all, he sees their actions from the day they were born but knows also their motives, life stories, everything about them that may factor in here or there and he knows their struggles too. Not to say any of us are off the hook, but Christ hung so we would not hang.
But if a person does not forgive- Christ warns God wont forgive their sins. This does not mean it is not emotionally challenging and does not take time to fully seek God and find freedom from an unforgiving attitude- It infact does often involves pressing toward God in prayer and he changes our hearts as we do. Yet the concept here is just an adiment refusal to forgive. It enslaves here in this life and will condemn the unforgiving in the eternal state. Grudges must be dealt with and some spend a life behind bars being driven by desire of revenge. It is not worth it. People destroy those who may inadvertently hurt them presently because things from early on have been so sore in their hearts that they react in fury toward even people who are not original offenders. We all sin in many ways and step on toes but so often unresolved hurts from even childhood can haunt us in the present unless we allow Christ to set us free!