The movie, A “Christmas Carol” based on the book written by Charles Dickens is a favorite holiday classic about redemption. The scene when Jacob Marley’s ghost appears to Ebenezer Scrooge, Marley is laden down with heavy chains from his past. He is attempting to plead with Scrooge to reconsider his ways and to change. Although the movie is a fictional story, we all can relate to the bondage that comes from our past and from sin. We can relate to encouraging someone to reconsider their ways, we can relate to how we wish we had made different choices in our lives. I was thinking about chains recently and that scene from the movie came to mind. Chains are heavy, restrictive and imprison us in the past. Chains can control how we respond and the way we think of ourselves.
Unlike the fictional story we don’t have to relive our past or fret for our future, instead we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who is able to redeem our lives and set us free!
I would like to consider two types of chains that rob us of living fully in the present, they are guilt and unforgiveness. These chains weigh us down much like Marley in Dickens’ tale. These chains tie us to our past and keep us from living in the present.
Ponder this, guilt accuses you to your own heart and soul and unforgivenness whether it is towards yourself or others keeps you chained to the past instead of living in the present.Guilt and unforgiveness challenges God’s trustworthiness and faithfulness to forgive sin and to redeem your past.
The chain of guilt is an accuser. Picture yourself like the women caught in adultery ready to be stoned. Jesus has just confounded the mob and they have dropped their stones and leave. Jesus looks at the women, imagine Jesus is looking directly into your eyes, “Woman, where are your accusers? ‘No one, Lord’, she answered. Then neither do I condemn you.” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11. Jesus has silenced your accusers with the cross!
The chain of unforgivenness sucks life, joy, hope and faith out of us. It’s a dangerous and heavy chain when carried over time we become familiar with its weight. So when the opportunity to release unforgiveness comes, we resist not because we want keep it, but because deep down we feel we can no longer protect ourselves. We have survived with unforgiveness. However, once again we are challenging God’s trustworthiness, faithfulness, and His love for us. Think of when Peter comes to Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother?” Matthew 18:21. We want to put a cap on forgiveness, but Jesus is saying there is no limit on forgiveness. “Forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.
Begin the process of letting go of the chains of guilt and unforgiveness.
1. Place yourself willingly in God’s presence.
2. Ask specifically what you want God to do in your life.
3. Cultivate God’s word in your heart and soul.
4. Embrace the truth of Christ’s love for you.
5. God has given the keys to the kingdom of heaven to his church, Matthew 16:19, so stay in community and receive prayer.
Remember both guilt and unforgiveness live in the past! God never stops reaching out to us, to restore, heal, and break the chains in our lives. He is the ultimate purser of our soul releasing His Grace in our lives to accomplish what we cannot do on our own so that we can live free in HIM!