Get out a piece of paper and write down on it the 10 people you would go the farthest for? I’m doing it too. I don’t know where we’re going with this, we’re on a ride here with the Holy Spirit. Don’t read on until you have 10 and ONLY 10.
Wow, I don’t know about you, but that was not easy! Not just the adding of the names, but the scratching. How did you define farthest? Did some of you take the question to mean distance and so you thought about the 10 people who lived farthest away from you?
Or, did you understand the question and write down the 10 people you would literally do anything for? Would your list look different? If so, how so?
Take a moment now and write down who you are surprised didn’t make the list. Why do you suppose they didn’t? Past strife? Unresolved conflict? Just too many people to choose from?
Strife and unresolved conflict are the biggest tools Satan has to separate us. In Where is Church? from the other day, I remind everyone of one of my favorite verses, Acts 2:42
They joined with the other believers in regular attendance at the apostles’ teaching sessions and at the Communion services and prayer meetings. [TLB]
Friends and family, we cannot begin to be in proper relationship with our Triune God if we are not in proper relationship with our earthly brother and sisters! No, I’m not living in a pollyanna world, we’re not always going to like one another or what one another does, that’s okay; but, it’s one thing to dislike someone or something and it’s another thing to not forgive them.
[Letter from Paul & Timothy to Corinthia] Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so bitter and discouraged that he won’t be able to recover. Please show him now that you still do love him very much. I wrote to you as I did so that I could find out how far you would go in obeying me. When you forgive anyone, I do too. And whatever I have forgiven (to the extent that this affected me too) has been by Christ’s authority, and for your good. A further reason for forgiveness is to keep from being outsmarted by Satan, for we know what he is trying to do. 2 Cor 2:7-11 (TLB)
There is no crime against another, and I’ve had them against me, I’m not being naive, that can’t be forgiven. It may take time, prayer, support from our family (Acts 2:42) others, but it can be achieved. It doesn’t automatically bring happiness or joy, but it does bring peace. Look back at that list of who didn’t make it. Are there words of forgiveness that need to be said, or asked for? Is there painful, earthly healing that needs to happen?
Maybe you’re a too many to choose from person. Indecisive?
Did Jesus have too many to talk to in his brief 3 1/2 years as a man? Did he have too many children around his feet or did he call them out? Did he have too many people to feed when 4,000 or 5,000 people (fyi-this count was just men, not women, children or slaves) showed up? (Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:1-13). No.
From the beginning there was (is) a plan. Salvation is here for everyone; however, of the many in the entire world over the entire time of the world, God has chosen you at this moment to read this and to hear the message that you are chosen (pass it on though, we all are and should know it).
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ. Eph 4:32 (TLB)
Also know that there is only one time where there is a true restriction on the list, the number of names of who can save you, of who is the Child of God:
Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: This is My Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him! Luke 9:35 (HCSB)
And when he was asked “How far”, he stretched out his arms as far as they would go, was hung on a tree until he died so that you could see God with Him, forgiven.