It’s God’s business to balance books.
OCTOBER 25, 2022
Steve Brown: It’s God’s business, the balanced books. Let’s talk about it with Jerry Parries, on Key Life.
Matthew Porter: That was author and seminary Professor Steve Brown, and this is Key Life. We’re all about radical grace because of what Jesus has done, God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.
Steve Brown: Thank you Matthew. For those of you who are just joining us, my beloved friend Jerry Parries is here. And you’ve read his blogs on our Key Life website. You’ve heard his teaching at our grace conference. You’ve heard him on our pastor’s chats. And I don’t know a man in this world who gets grace more profoundly than does Jerry Parries. And so, I’ve invited him to sit down and to teach us this week about forgiveness. And if you were listening yesterday, he talked about you are forgiven. I mean, you’ve got to start there. If you don’t start there, you don’t get anywhere. And in order to start there, you’ve got to recognize that you need to be forgiven, Martin Luther said.
We are great sinners and we have a great Savior.
If you don’t get the great sinners part, you don’t go anywhere. You end up bitter and turning on yourself and as Jerry said yesterday, in a prison. So Jerry, keep with that subject, I’m not guilty enough, by the end of this week, I’m going to be suicidal, I think. I’m going to be convicted so much, but teach us some more about forgiving others.
Jerry Parries: Yeah. As we’re talking this week, you know, we talked about yesterday to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that that prisoner is really you, you know. And it’s such a good reminder that you really, really, really need to forgive. The gift is yours. The gift is for you. It is not for the other person. I remember, a few years ago, talking about how God has forgiven me and so I have to forgive others. I have a quick story. A few years ago, this is many years ago when I was a young guy, a guy. This young lady gave me a car. And I was supposed to pay her every week for this car. And when she gave me the car, you know, I did a first couple of payments like I was supposed to, and then, I stopped paying her. I didn’t pay for the car. When you talked about balancing, God balances the books. I didn’t pay her for the car. And she forgave me of the debt. She forgave me of the debt, didn’t sue me, just let me go and hugged me and said she loved me. Well, a few years ago, I had a Mercedes that was an old classic that I absolutely loved. It was a 1978 classic Mercedes. I spent a whole lot of money. I gave it to a gentleman, to fix for me, and he took my car and he stole it. He stole my car. And I said, I am going to sue him. I’m going to get all of my money back. And the Holy Spirit spoke to me, said just like she forgave you, I want you to forgive him. I said, Oh Lord, how am I? God knows how to balance the books when it comes down to when you do things wrong. And so, today I want to talk about never seek revenge, never seek revenge. In Romans 12:19, it says.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the scripture says, I will take revenge, I will pay them back, sayeth the Lord.
And if anyone knows how to get back at you, God does. So, you don’t have to go back and plot and scheme to try to get somebody back for what they’ve done for you, or done to you. All you have to do is turn that over to the Lord. Just pray for them. God tells us to pray for our enemies. Don’t seek revenge. I remember in 1989, there was a movie that came out called, War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. It was about a married couple, who was going through a divorce, and it has started off that they were just going to separate. But when one person did something, the other person sought revenge and the other person sought revenge. And at the end of the movie, if you haven’t seen this, in fact, if you’re going through a divorce, you may want to rent this movie. But at the end of the movie, they both end up dying in the house, burning it to the ground because they could not forgive. And in life, when we seek revenge, we burn down our own house. We burn down our own place. We burn down our own soul. We burn down our own mind, our own spirit because we are trying to get back at somebody, and we can leave that to the Lord. Psalms 37: 1 through 9 says.
Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of workers of iniquity, for they soon shall be cut down like green grass and wither as the green herb.
So, here’s what I’m trying to tell you. They may get by, but they won’t get away. God will handle that for you. And you don’t have to seek revenge. The problem with us, I think, Steve, is that we know that the grass is going to be cut down. We just want to see the grass cut.
Steve Brown: That’s right. That’s so true.
Jerry Parries: But sometimes, God doesn’t allow you to see the grass cut. Sometimes God deals with people in their private moments, away from you so that you don’t gloat about their demise. You don’t gloat, you don’t laugh, you don’t giggle with that. God doesn’t, that doesn’t please God because God loves all of his children. So, you’ve got to leave that to the Lord so that you do not get into an issue where you are allowing people to drag you down. Revenge belongs to the Lord, and I really want you to hear that people, but revenge belongs to the Lord. And if you’re not careful, you will do things to try to get people back. You will hurt your children. I’ve seen in marriages, you will hurt your children trying to get the father back. And you know, that’s their father, that’s their mother. And we would do things to hurt our families because we won’t let God do it. And it’s important to do that.
Steve Brown: You know, I think about Jonathan Edwards, who was the spark along with George Whitfield for the Great Awakening in America. A lot of people don’t know that he was kicked out of his church. And he refused to respond. Now, I believe pastors ought to have a mean streak, that’s called survival instinct, but evidently he didn’t have that cause he was a better Christian than I am. And he refused to get back, not because he didn’t think that justice needed to be done, but because he knew what you’ve been teaching us, that God’s business is to do the justice, not our business.
Jerry Parries: Yes.
Steve Brown: And when we do it, we burn our house down. So, Jonathan Edwards was quiet, they ran him out of his church, but do you know the rest of the story? Within a year that two men who had been mostly responsible for firing him and getting rid of him from the church. One went insane and one committed suicide.
Jerry Parries: Wow.
Steve Brown: I used to tell when I was a pastor, I used to tell that story at least once a year, and then I’d smile and say, you guys be careful.
Jerry Parries: There’s a scripture in the Bible say, touch not my anointed.
Steve Brown: That’s right.
Jerry Parries: And do my prophet no harm, you know. And because God loves us so much and God, we are God’s children. He warns people that, Hey, don’t touch my children. And it doesn’t seem like that God, come and fight for you, when you’re going through, but he really is, He really is taking care of you. And you have to leave that to the Lord. And if you don’t, as you just said, you will mess up and you’ll get in trouble. You know, by not doing what God’s asked you to do, and that is to love your enemies. And when I say love your enemies, I’m saying be respectful to other people, you know. And don’t allow the bitterness to sit in to the point that you’re now going to do what God said he would do. I’m going to take God’s place and do revenge on my enemies.
Steve Brown: That’s the basis of self-righteousness too, isn’t it?
Jerry Parries: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. When you believe that you’re right, and your righteousness succeeds God’s righteousness, you know, and we don’t say it, but we actually do it, you know, since God has taken so long to handle this, I’m going to handle it for him. And we,
Steve Brown: And besides he may mess it.
Jerry Parries: Right, Right. And he may not do it the way I want to see him do it, you know. And God never ceases, God is one of those parents that can spank you and love you at the same time. And you can be chastised by God. But God can do it in such a loving way. David said, when God asked David, now who do you want to fall in the hands of your enemies or you want me to deal with you? David said, no Lord, you deal with me because I know your dealings will be justice.
Steve Brown: Oh man. So good. So, what you’re saying is that we have a God of justice.
Jerry Parries: That’s right.
Steve Brown: And even when it seems like justice isn’t being done, it is.
Jerry Parries: That’s correct.
Steve Brown: So, you’ve got to wait, you’ve got to watch, you’ve got to hang on, and you’ve got to see the rest of the story. Do we always see the rest of the story?
Jerry Parries: We definitely don’t always see it, but you can rest assure that God is full of justice and love. You may get by, but they won’t get away.
Steve Brown: And so, if you’re a Christian, sit down and think of the people that have done bad things to you. The guy who stabbed you in the back, the gossip that was said about you, the person that maybe you were married to and are now divorced and you can’t stand because of the way they’ve hurt you. The person who stole from you and brought your business down, the person who doesn’t like you and has made that clear, make the list, burn it, and rejoice. You think about that. Amen.
Matthew Porter: Thank you Steve. And thank you Jerry. And if that other voice doesn’t sound familiar yet, that’s our good friend Jerry Parries. He’s hanging out with us all this week talking about forgiveness. If you ever struggle with that issue, man, hope you’ll join us on this journey. So, if you haven’t heard, Steve’s new book came out yesterday. Super excited about that, and we hope you’ll check it out. It’s called Laughter and Lament. We’ll talk more about that in the coming months, but I have to say one of my all time favorites from Steve is a book called A Scandalous Freedom. If you haven’t read it, allow us to intrigue you by sending you a little special booklet called Radical Freedom Surprising Faithfulness. It features excerpts from A Scandalous Freedom, and I know you’ll find it as a refreshing reminder about the radical nature of grace. Claim your copy now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for the booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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