Archive for the 'America' Category
Unforgiveness is the #1 obstacle to the next great move of God in your life, your church and our nation. Almost every person has been affected by unforgiveness in some way or another. Either we have held a grudge or known a relationship hindered by someone who refused to forgive. Churches, friendships, and fellowship have been ruptured by wounds, unforgiveness, and bitterness.
For many years, I have pastored local churches, and am convinced that the #1 obstacle to the next great move of God in the church and in the nation is the sin of unforgiveness. Nothing has built a taller, deeper, and thicker wall in the hearts of people and in the churches of our land.
God Does Forgives Us
Human relationships fractured by unforgiveness are damaging, to be sure. What about our need for God’s forgiveness? Is God forgiving? Can anything be done if we have offended Him?
Thankfully, God has not left us in the dark. Yes, we have offended God, and yes, He will forgive.
The Bible is clear in both the Old and New Testaments that we have sinned against God. Jeremiah laments on behalf of his kinsmen in Israel, “Let us lie down in our shame; let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our fathers, from the time of our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”1 The Psalmist wrote even more broadly, “The LORD looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, who seeks after God. All have turned away; all alike have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.”2
Yet, God forgives us. We are grateful!
How Can God Ever forgive?
We are not let off the hook in the New Testament. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.”3 Humanity has a problem, and that problem is the sin that separates us from God.
How can God ever forgive? Only through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. As Peter and John told the religious leaders of their day, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”4
What about those who have already accepted Christ? Is there forgiveness for the many sins we commit between the time we are saved and the time we leave this earth? Does God forgive the forgiven? Thank God, the answer is yes.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 5 Those of us who have believed in Christ are forgiven at salvation and forgiven as we are made more and more like Christ. This is one reason we are encouraged to forgive others. We need to experience the ongoing forgiveness of God that restores our fellowship with Him.
Therefore, Forgive Others
Since God so freely and sacrificially forgives us, we should forgive others. Friends, never let anyone outside of your circle of love. Forgiveness is imperative in the life of a Christ follower. Therefore, walk in forgiveness toward others.
Refuse to Let Unforgiveness in the Church
I realize calling upon us to refuse to let unforgiveness in the church is a big request. But if we let unforgiveness abide in the church, we are telling God we do not want Him to intervene in His church. We need to call people to account to one another, even pastors to their people, and the people to the pastor, if any unforgiveness is prevailing.
Call Upon Our Nation to Forgive Each Other
It is very concerning to think how much unforgiveness is prevailing in America presently. It is just wrong. Anger is raging and criticism is never ceasing. We need our nation to live with forgiveness toward one another.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
1 Jeremiah 3:25
2 Psalm 14:2-3
3 Romans 5:12
4 Acts 4:12
5 1 John 1:9
Last Thursday in the Rose Garden on the White House lawn, on the very same day as the National Day of Prayer, President Donald J. Trump signed the Presidential Executive Order, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” You can read this brief Presidential Executive Order here.
On the 107th day of his presidency, the President and his administration did more to promote religious freedom than the previous administration did in eight years. This step is a step in the right direction.
This is a Step Forward for Religious Liberty
This is a step forward for religious liberty in America. While some may be disappointed that it does not do more and go farther, please understand, at least it is a forward step. Usually, nothing is done easily or rapidly in Washington, DC. Leading people in a massive organization, government, corporation, or even church is a process.
This is a step forward in the right direction for preserving and forwarding one of our greatest freedoms, religious liberty. The President was more than clear in his speech in the Rose Garden that religious freedom comes from God, and is not granted to us by the government.
The overreach of government regarding religious liberty issues has not just been apparent, but accelerating. It has been a major and growing issue, concern, and threat for all people of faith. Therefore, I am more than hopeful that what occurred last Thursday will not be the end, but a new point of beginning for our future as a nation. At the very least, it is a reversal in our immediate past trajectory regarding the freedom of religion.
Why It Was a Personal Joy to Be Present in the Rose Garden
While in the Rose Garden experiencing this moment in American history, I was overwhelmed with personal gratitude. Why?
At one point a few years ago, I became a target because I took a stand for a biblical and Christian worldview about various moral issues. As I did then and always will in the future, I teach and lead our people to see moral issues through the lens and the authority of the Holy Scripture. That experience was a difficult and learning time for me personally and professionally.
It was also a personal joy because in the fall of 2014, I was invited to speak at a major rally in support of five pastors in Houston, Texas, whose sermons were subpoenaed by the Mayor of Houston. As I spoke that night to over 6,000 people present and to a live simulcast, it was a significant moment in my life. This overreach of government was apparent and demonstrated its acceleration in America. Since then, the acceleration has continued. I do hope these five pastors and others who have been targeted are encouraged by what occurred on Thursday.
This Presidential Executive Order is in clear support of religious liberty. It says, “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.”
While some prognosticate about whether this is needed, I want to assure you, it is. Whether a pastor knew about or felt influenced by the Johnson Amendment is not the issue. The issue is having the freedom to articulate the claims of Scripture in the pulpits in America without fear or intimidation. This is America, where freedom is celebrated. Therefore, this Executive Order is welcome.
The Next Step
I am more than hopeful that what happened on Thursday was the first step of many that will forward religious freedom to every American for decades to come. Prohibiting the free exercise of religion in any way is always an overreach of government and is against on what our country was founded.
The Constitution does make this provision so that every American can live out their faith wherever they are without wondering if they will be penalized for it. Whether you are in business or healthcare, in the military or pastoring a church, in education or in retirement, the free exercise of your religion should always be permitted. Yes, even to the atheist who does not believe there is a God.
The next step I pray will be another step forward for religious liberty in America.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry, and host of the Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today podcast.
To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.