#MyStory - Joe Thompson: Convicted of my Wickedness

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I am a broken person living in a broken world. Like many of you, I've been mistreated, used, abused, and hurt by others. Often times Christians. For a long time I held onto bitterness, anger, hatred, and I even blamed God for the way people treated me. It hurts, it's unfair, it doesn't make sense, and it's quite lonely. I get it. But, what I failed to realize was that the people who I was hurt by, were also broken people living in a broken world. You see, you can't add brokenness to brokenness and hope that it will magically be made whole again.

Not very long ago there was an incident where someone's words and tone where very hurtful. In the moment I was full of rage and anger and all I wanted to do was lash out. In fact in my mind I wanted to grab the individual at their throat.

Luckily, I kept my cool and fled the scene. Still full of rage I sat on the edge of my bed thinking of all of the hateful things I should have said or done. In that moment when hate was overcoming me the Lord broke through and began to work on my heart. I felt as though He was asking me, "Why is your heart so wicked?" I began to place the blame on the individual who's words hurt me. I felt that my feelings were justified. I felt the Lord speak again and ask me "Joe, why is your heart so wicked? Don't you know that's my child too?"

In that moment I felt paralyzed. I really didn't know what to do or how to respond. I was the victim here, so why weren't my emotions and response justified? Didn't I have a right to be angry? That's what I began to ask the Lord. After crying, praying, and yelling, I felt God say "No your emotions and response weren't justified and you don't have the right to hold onto this bitterness and anger."

You see, the enemy will tell you that your emotions are justified and that you have every right to be angry and bitter, but that's because the enemy wants you to live in bondage.

When Jesus was murdered on the cross He didn't only die for our sin, but He also died for our offense, our anger, our bitterness, our rage. He died for it all. In that moment of trying to justify my rage I began to examine my heart and all of the wickedness inside of it.

For so long I was holding onto bitterness that I was never designed to hold onto in the first place. Christ didn't die to bring partial freedom to our lives. He died to set us totally free! I had never realized the bondage I was living in until that evening when hatred was flowing through my veins. I began to realize the weight of the offense that I had been carrying around for far to long. I had a choice to make. Do I choose to live in the bondage of offense and anger or do I choose to live freely and give it to God?

About an hour after the incident I didn't have any hard feelings, no bitterness, no anger, and no rage. I even began to pray blessings upon the individual and others who had hurt me in the past. I was free. Don't get me wrong, I still get upset, and angry, and bitter just like any other broken person out there. It is a daily struggle to not hold onto offense, but, I've learned that I am not suppose to hold onto that garbage anymore. Besides, when we hold onto offense it's not hurting anyone but ourselves. Take a step towards freedom and begin to let go of your offense and offer forgiveness.

Find Freedom in Jesus

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Find Freedom in Jesus 

“Then one was brought to him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Matthew 12:22)

Isn’t it remarkable? Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Jesus freed him from his imprisonment to demons and darkness.

Jesus can free us, too. 

In many ways, we all live inside our own prisons. Some prisons may be of our own making, through sin, addictions and wrong decisions.

Every bad choice we’ve made locks us up in some form of prison. It can be relational, emotional, financial or something else. As a result, we may experience despair and loss of freedom.

The difference between confinement and freedom is found in our answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”

The Pharisees claimed Jesus was a charlatan doing the work of the devil. Others realized that he is the Son of God.

Our answer and response to that question – Who is Jesus? – is the most important decision we will ever make

Simply put, only Jesus can free us from our prisons and give us eternal life in paradise.

Jesus came to set us free.

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

With his sacrifice, Jesus declared us “Not guilty!” and opened our jail cells.

Will we accept the freedom that Jesus offers and walk through those open doors into his open arms? Or will we remain imprisoned by our sins, our addictions and our wrong behaviors?

God has given us freedom to choose. Let us choose wisely.

Feel your need for God, run to grace, believe you're blessed

Yolk of slavery

God came down to planet earth and became one of us, to lift us by grace and truth to a life that is new forever. When we believe we are released from our slavery, we are released from all of the destructive gravity of sin. This gravitational pull is so strong, it drags us into addictions, it drags us into so many dark and broken places and produces so many broken relationships. 

The lies of hell are trying to drown out the grace of God, and the lies of hell are trying to keep you from finding freedom in the truth of God. But we are forgiven through faith in Jesus, and have a connection with God that leads to Wholeness and Holiness; all of life with no missing pieces. Feel your need for God, run to grace, believe you're blessed. -Dr. Drew Shofner

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