The Freedom of the Cross
by Rick Warren
“We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us.” (Romans 6:6 NCV)
Romans 6:6 says, “We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us” (NCV). What does “our sinful selves would have no power over us” mean? It means our natural inclination is to do the wrong thing.
My natural inclination when you hurt me is to hurt you back. My natural inclination when you say something bad against me is say something bad against you and hold on to it and never forgive you. All of the things that I’m naturally inclined to do actually make it worse.
But we can break that bondage to bitterness, that bondage to guilt, that bondage to resentment, that bondage to worry. We can keep from becoming slaves to the past and hurtful memories. We can choose to forgive.
Let me ask you a very important question: How badly do you want to be healed of that hurt? How badly do you want to let it go? Do you want to just keep holding on to it and become a bitter, old, crusty person?
How badly do you want to be released from this pain? Are you tired of going on? “I’ve gone over that a thousand times in my mind. Every time I think of it again, it still hurts. What my dad did. What my brother did. What my mom did. What my husband did. Every time I think about it, it still hurts.”
The cross has the power to free you from grudges and grief and resentment. There is no other way to let go of these emotions that are weighing you down than the cross. Jesus on the cross broke the power of sin and death and bondage in your life.
I want you to think of the person you need to forgive, the person whose offense planted a seed of bitterness in you, and I want you to pray this prayer right now:
“Father, only you understand how much I’ve been hurt by these people. I don’t want to carry the pain for another second. I don’t want to be a bitter person. But I need your grace and the power of the cross to release my hurt and to forgive those who’ve hurt me. This is the turning point. First, I need to experience your forgiveness. You know all the ways I’ve hurt others, and I’m so sorry for my sins. Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I accept your grace and forgiveness, and I need it daily. Today I’m turning to you, and I’m choosing to forgive the way you have forgiven me. Every time the memory comes back, I’ll forgive them again until the pain is gone. Heal my heart with your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”