Les Linz: For such a time as this

By Les Linz

Guest columnist

Cancer is debilitating, but not transmissible.

Or is it?

When you know you have a problem, you do something about it. When you have a transmissible cancer growing within unawares, you don’t eradicate it, but unwittingly accelerate its devastating spread.

What is the real, debilitating and transmissible cancer I’m talking about? Unforgiveness by former or current attendees, or their current or former pastors.

Sadly, while the cancer of unforgiveness is alive and well, and not recognized as a real disease-it is a real problem.

The same Bible that speaks of its dangers provides the antidote for it-but no medicine, no matter how good, is effectual, unless taken as directed.

When should this medicine be taken to be effective?


Now is the time to bring reconciliation, that the Holy Spirit’s power is dropped like an atomic bomb at a (now former) center of conflict that results in solving problems heretofore deemed “unsolvable”

Just as cancer causes a multitude of problems, so unforgiveness propagates a multitude of additional ones, which may have nothing whatsoever to do with the particular conflict.

Here’s why.

Scripture tells us there is order within the demonic realm, and its administrators have geographical territories they rule over. When things are as they should be, they’re held in check by the Holy Spirit, but when that Spirit is hamstrung-due to unforgiveness-all “hell” breaks loose.

If you want to live at peace within your community, you should strive to be in the good graces of a sovereign God. Unforgiveness (and other sins) interfere with those graces, and become a playground for the demonic.

. In Mark’s 11th chapter, we learn when praying, “forgive”, so that God will forgive us, and that if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven by Him, either.

That can be a problem.

We do well to recall Jesus’ instruction to Peter, in Luke’s 17th chapter.

Peter has just asked Him how many times a day he needs to forgive his brother when the same sins against him. He queries: “Seven times?”

No—Jesus says, “Try seventy times seven”.

He goes on to tell the story of a “wicked servant” that wouldn’t forgive a small debt owed by a fellow-servant, though he had been forgiven a humongous one by his master. Witnesses told the wicked servant’s boss what happened. He shamed him, and had him locked up in debtor’s prison, where the tormentors would have their way with him until the unmanageable debt was repaid. Jesus concludes the lesson with this:

““So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”

Did you see that? When you don’t forgive, the “tormentors” have free reign.

But congregants and attendees aren’t the only ones subject to damaging unforgiveness issues-the shepherds that lead their flocks-the ones that put their pants on one leg at a time-they have those issues too-whether it’s professional jealousy, contempt for a parishioner that challenges their leadership-or anything else. Like those formerly (or currently) under their care, they need deliverance as well, and that deliverance-when manifest-ends in peace.

Often, the Greek word used in the New Testament for reconciliation is, “katallaxantos”- which means to change mutually, and when even one party in one church achieves the forgiveness God wants them to achieve, it will change things for the better in any number of ways within the entire geographical region. As Galatians 5:9 tells us, A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf”.

Folks, God’s Word tells us it’s our job as Gospel ministers to bring non-believers into reconciliation with their Creator, but how effective will those efforts to do so be if we are not first reconciled unto each other? Can we honestly say, “Father, I love you” when we hold our Christ sibling (or non-believer) in contempt?

No-we can’t.

If you’re a current or former church attendee that this editorial has struck a chord with, please let your current or former pastor know. If you’re a current or former pastor, and this piece has struck a responsive chord with you, please reach out to me.

Forgive-and together we will “See more of God-in Seymour, Indiana.”

Les Linz of Seymour is writer emeritus of the weekly “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his amazon.com author page.