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WORRY AND UNFORGIVENESS MAKES ONE UNHEALTHY, POOR, AND UNWISE
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
23 FEBRUARY 1992
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verses: (Philippians 4:6-7)
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Most of us have probably heard the expression, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise."
It assumes that after a hard and fruitful day of work, we will go home, have dinner, and then go off to bed so that we would be well rested for the following day; and that we would get up early when our minds are usually the sharpest, do some exercises, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and go off to work in a frame of mind that helps us do our very best.
Unfortunately, most of the people in this country don't do this; and there are a number of reasons why we don't.
Today we'll explore two of these hindrances to our well-being: worry and unforgiveness.
And I will go so far as to change that expression to say, "Worry and unforgiveness makes one unhealthy, poor, and unwise."
Let's begin our study this morning by looking at a psalm of David that speaks to this point: Psalm 37:1f.
1. Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
When we fret or worry about the evil people in this world and the things that they do, we use up a great deal of our brain power and energy that could have been used constructively.
Such fretting also makes us tired; thus we spend even less time doing what we could and should be doing.
If we see the temporary success of evildoers, and become envious of them for what they have, then we are apt to do as they do, which isn't very wise.
Note the following verse, and what David says about them:
2. For they will wither quickly like the grass,
And fade like the green herb.
Here again, many make the mistake of giving up too quickly.
God's time is not our time.
We know by experience and simple observation that God doesn't immediately zap people every time they do something wrong.
We know this because we are all still here.
But know for sure that no evilness will enter heaven.
And if God chooses to allow someone to live out their whole life doing evil in this world, before sending that person to hell, that is God's business.
Perhaps God is just allowing that person every opportunity to repent and come to Him.
Or, perhaps God is using that person as an example for others; but here again, this is Godís decision to make.
All our worry can make us so sick that we may even die before such a person does.
Some of us may say, "So what; life isn't worth living anyway."
But God is saying to us, "My child, hang on a little longer; put your trust and faith in Me."
Listen to the next verses and heed their advice:
3. Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
If we trust in the Lord, we won't be fretting or worrying about what evil people are doing; and part of our doing good is to learn to forgive the sins of others, or at least have the capacity to forgive them when they truly repent.
We aren't to love their sins that bring them evil gain at the expense of others, whether human or non-human; but we are to love and forgive them to the extent that when and if they repent, we will have the capacity to forgive them, which is all part of trusting in the Lord.
We are not to waste our time by planting their type of evilness; we are to
plant and cultivate faithfulness, love, compassion, and peace.
4. Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
If we delight ourselves in the Lord, we won't fret and worry about what the evil people of this world do for their gain; we will enjoy what we have.
For once we truly are delighted in the Lord, we may no longer desire the same things we previously thought were so important.
When we get to this mindset, when we become this wise, then we will find that the Lord has also given us the desires of our heart.
And without the fretting and worry, we will also find that we are healthy
enough to enjoy these desires of our heart.
5. Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He really will!
6. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.
We are to be the shining example of God's glory in the world.
We are to be the people that others want to be like.
We are to be the sign of hope for those who suffer at the hands of evildoers.
We are to be the voice and beacon of light for those who have no voice, and through it all we should be at peace.
Others should desire to have the love and peace of mind that we have Ė that is, if we have it.
Because of us, others should desire to commit themselves to the Lord and work to bring peace to the whole of God's creation.
And the more people that do this, the less there is for us to worry about.
But we worry about this, too: that we can't make a difference. This just
isn't true, for we can make a difference, if we just try.
7. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him [an evil person] who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Don't worry about the sinful things that other people do. Letís use our time to do what is right.
Don't worry about the fact that some don't show any true and lasting love for God or for others, or for His creation. We should spend our time overflowing with love.
Don't worry that some others arenít compassionate. We are to show compassion.
We are to be as the Lord desires us to be, regardless of what others do or say.
Worrying about such things and about such people will only make you sick and, thus, less effective and less successful.
Fretting and worrying are not wise things to do, for they lead only to our destruction, and not necessarily to that of the evildoers.
8. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.
In other words, when we worry about the evil that others do, and get angry,
we have a tendency to want to take revenge on the evil doers, which God also
considers to be evil.
9. For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
In God's eyes, the end never justifies the means.
We are not to do the things the evil people do, regardless of what they do. Let God handle them in His own way.
For our part, we are to continue to do as God desires us to do.
When we allow ourselves to become filled with anger, and take vengeance for what has happened, we become just like the evil people of this world; and the Lord warns us, that if we become like them, then He will cut us off, too; and we will lose all that we have.
We must learn to love as God loves, and to wait as patiently for the evil person to repent as God waited for us.
We must have the capacity to forgive.
For if we continue to live the Christian life that the Lord desires us to live, if we set a Godly example in this world, then the Lord promises us that we will inherit the land.
But we will inherit even more: we will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Then we will truly be rich.
Trust in God! It's worth the wait.
10. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there.
11. But the humble will inherit the land,
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
We live in a fast society, and we have a tendency to become impatient; but when it comes to the ways of God, and the things worth having, we must learn to slow down and wait patiently.
Joseph, the son of Jacob, was such a person.
He never let the evilness of others lead him away from the Lord.
All of us should read about the life of Joseph, as recorded in the Book of Genesis beginning at chapter 37, and strive to at least be like him and set the same kind of example he did.
We don't have time this morning to read and discuss all that is recorded about Joseph's life, but you can read about him when you get home.
For now, let's just touch on a few highlights.
Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. He never let his anger take over, but did a good job for his master and he prospered.
When he was falsely accused and put in jail, he did a good job there, too; and he prospered.
And when Pharaoh heard about him, he brought him out of jail, and Joseph became prime minister.
Then came the time when his brothers were in need and traveled to Egypt for food; and Joseph had the power to put them to death, but he didn't.
He did toy with them for a short time, and then repented of what he had done and disclosed himself to them.
Listen to what he said to them, as written in Genesis 45:5-8.
5. "And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
6. "For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.
7. "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
8. "Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt."
Joseph didn't worry.
He had love and forgiveness in his heart.
He never did evil when evil was done to him.
And he was healthy, wealthy and wise.
If we would see the hand of God in more of the events in our lives, and trust in Him, we might have what Joseph had.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the hand of God is touching us, as He touched Joseph....
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