Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Guilt can destroy, forgiveness builds up, reality can bring them together (1 Corinthians 15:56-57) with a Alfred Nobel story.

SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 (TM)
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three - sin, guilt, death - are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

It is possible to live under a delusion. You think you are kind, considerate and gracious when you are really not. You think you are building positive stuff into your children when in reality, if you could check with them twenty years later, you really didn't. What if you could read your own obituary? How do people really see you? Here is the story of a man who did. 
One morning in 1888 Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, awoke to read his own obituary. The obituary was printed as a result of a simple journalistic error. You see, it was Alfred's brother that had died and the reporter carelessly reported the death of the wrong brother. Any man would be disturbed under the circumstances, but to Alfred the shock was overwhelming because he saw himself as the world saw him. The "Dynamite King," the great industrialist who had made an immense fortune from explosives. This, as far as the general public was concerned, was the entire purpose of Alfred's life. None of his true intentions to break down the barriers that separated men and ideas for peace were recognized or given serious consideration. He was simply a merchant of death. And for that alone he would be remembered. As he read the obituary with horror, he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose of his life. This could be done through the final disposition of his fortune. His last will and testament--an endowment of five annual prizes for outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace (the sixth category of economics was added later)--would be the expression of his life's ideals and ultimately would be why we would remember him. The result was the most valuable of prizes given to those who had done the most for the cause of world peace. It is called today, the "Nobel Peace Prize."

Here is a sobering task: try to write your own obituary. What would be included? What would be left out? Would we be honest with ourselves? What list of achievements would be included? What list of failures?

Evidently a gentleman had written his own obituary. It simply read: “Lived a sinful life, died victoriously … Thanks be to Christ.”

Guilt is a destructive force. It robs us of life. It places judgment around our shoulders. Yet, when we face our own guilt and come face to face with reality we can change by the power of Christ.

Our future is in our hands … we can either continue to try to hold on to it OR we can turn it over to Christ receiving the gift of the Master … it could influence how our obituary is written.

Help us to live our lives as those who are ready to die! 

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