As promised, today I will address the third and final way that we end up in a pit – WHEN WE ARE THROWN IN. I call this the pit of innocence. This pit has nothing to do with you or your sin. You’ll be tempted to think it is your fault, but the truth is…IT ISN’T. The first pit spoken about in the Bible was this pit of innocence. In Genesis 37, Joseph was just walking through the fields one day, going to see how his brothers were doing and the next thing you know…
“So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal.” Genesis 37:23-25
Every time I read this story, I get filled with emotion at the thought of what happened. It’s not that I am worried about Joseph – we know that he turns out ok. But what weighs me down is the thought of many others “Josephs” out there – who did nothing wrong, yet found themselves violently thrown into a pit by the selfish actions of another.
Below are some real stories of real people that I know. The names are made up, but the stories aren’t and neither is the pain and hurt that they feel. These are all real people who bleed and cry and suffer the anguish of their pit through no fault of their own.
There’s Sarah, who at age 17 came home and found both her parents lying in a pool of blood – the father beat the mother to death and then took his own life.
There’s Jason, who loved his wife for more than 20 years, but then was told that she is love with another man and that she is taking the kids and leaving him.
There’s Mary, whose father used to put a knife to her tongue and threaten to cut it off if she didn’t stop crying.
Then there’s Martha, who will do just about anything to get the approval of the one man who just won’t give it to her…her father.
Need I go on? Those are all real people who have been thrown into a pit through no fault of their own. And the list goes on and on. And I am sure you could add your own stories as well – stories of abuse, stories of neglect and stories of rejection.
So what do you do if this is you? What can you do if you’ve been thrown into a pit and you can’t do anything about it? How do you find your way out?
If you jumped in the pit or slipped in the pit, your escape plan is much more straightforward because you don’t really have anyone to blame for your pit except yourself. But in this pit of innocence, the dangerous part is that there is someone to blame and if we don’t know how to deal with that, we’ll find ourselves in a pit of resentment and bitterness which will end up being worse than the original pit we were thrown into!
So how do you escape?
There’s only way out of this pit and you already know what I’m going to say before I even say it. You’ve heard it before 1000 times and you’ve probably even said it to others 1001 times. It’s the only way out. It’s FORGIVENESS.
The Bible calls us to “…forgive one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). How did Christ forgive His perpetrators when they nailed Him to the cross?
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
That is how we are called to forgive – not denying the truth of the hurt or making excuses for those who hurt us, but rather coming to the realization that they really didn’t know what they were doing. They had no idea what kind of hurt they were causing us and even if we drew them a picture, they still wouldn’t get it. No one except God knows how their actions affected you and the rest of your life – just like Joseph and his brothers.
You need to forgive them. I know you don’t want to forgive them, but you need to forgive them. Forgiveness is the only escape from this pit. I know you’ve heard it 1000 times but I am praying that this time – the 1001st time – will be different. I am praying that this is the time that you don’t just hear it, but that you do it. I know you’ve tried before and failed but today is a new day and maybe today is the day that you will finally be able to forgive.
Why should you? Simple. Forgiving won’t make the situation ok, but it will make you ok.
You need to realize that every day that you don’t forgive is just another day that you sink deeper into that pit. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you are weak or that the other person has somehow “won” again. Forgiving means you are walking away. You are saying “I am letting go of this and going on with my life. I refuse to let someone else’s sin continue to hurt me. It hurt me once already, but enough is enough!”
When Jesus forgave on the cross, He did so because He had a greater purpose in mind. He wanted to accomplish something much greater and therefore He looked past the sins of the people and forgave them. That was the only way to accomplish His mission.
How about you? Are you willing to throw your mission away for the sake of someone who hurt you years ago? Or do you want something more out of your life?
Forgiveness won’t make the situation ok, but it will make you ok.
Discussion: What helps you practice forgiveness with those who have hurt you?