2015-08-04 - Blocked Signals
We were recently watching two baseball ballgames at once. I tried to use the "back channel" button, to no avail. Then I tried manually punching the numbers in. Still no success. After unsuccessfully trying several remote control tasks, I naturally assumed that the device needed a new battery. But then Richard noticed that there was a DVD in front of the infrared receiver. He moved that disc out of the way, and surely enough, the television remote was working again! There had been a blocked signal.
This can occur in our spiritual lives, as well. In order to maintain a clear connection with God, we need to be sure to prevent blockages. What are some of the things that can come between ourselves and God?
We can neglect prayer. The less we pray, the farther we can drift from our Heavenly Father. We need to confess our sins, as soon as we realize we have committed them, and we also need to ask Him for instructions for our daily lives. Of course, in addition, we are to offer intercession for those who are struggling. As I heard someone say many years ago, "we need to keep short accounts with God."
We can hold a grudge against someone. The Bible is clear on the fact that in order to receive God's forgiveness, we need to offer it to others. And to clear up a "misbelief" that I have heard expressed, this is not incumbent upon their request for our forgiveness. The words "if they are sorry" or "if they ask forgiveness" are not in there. Does this mean being a doormat, or that things will be exactly as they were before? No. Christ held / holds people accountable, and that includes those who wrong us. In fact, to not hold someone accountable does them no favor; that impedes their growth. But it does mean that we don't punish them. We need to remain cordial and not wish them harm. If we don't forgive others, there is a blockage between us and our Savior, who provided our own necessary forgiveness.
The Message even uses the word connection to express this:
Matthew 6: 14-15 “In prayer, there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
We can hold anger against God Himself. It's okay to express our frustrations, anger and what some have called "negative" emotions. I've even known church members (not in our present church) who denied parents the right to grieve their suicided son, because "Glory glory He's with God. You should be happy." Incidentally the grief did come out in a very sad way; the parents also killed themselves. But when it comes to emotions, first of all, God already knows what we are thinking, and it can be cathartic to talk or write it out. But also, Jesus Himself grieved, expressed anger and sadness, as did David, who was "a man after God's own heart" as well as one of the Psalmists. But we also need to acknowledge God for Whom He is, reconcile with Him, and accept that even if we don't like His will, we need to "learn to deal with it" - which means reconciling ourselves to that, as well.
Can you think of other ways that we can impede the connection between ourselves and God? I encourage you to join me in praying that God will help us to prevent and clear out those blockages.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.