I posted something along these lines on my social media page earlier this morning and I thought, why stop there? It began with something I heard on the radio this morning. The topic dealt with our rights. We all have civil rights and political rights. They are guaranteed, not always honored, but guaranteed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. But what about the rest of them? What about the rights of a dead man or an unborn baby? What about the rights of a Christian in a secular education system? They are all important.
But I want to let you in on a secret. I was taught in high school that you have the right to do whatever you want unless it infringes or imposes on somebody else’s rights. In other words, you can do what you want, but if somebody doesn’t like what you’re doing, you need to stop doing that or do it somewhere else.
There’s another aspect yet that I want to get at. This is the part I heard on the radio. Dead men have no rights. You did hear me right. Dead men have no rights. Let that sink in a minute.
Dead men have no rights. From a practical viewpoint, we live all or lives with all these rights granted to us as well as ones that we think we are entitled to, but in the end, when we’re dead, it’s not gonna matter. Too many people want their rights as a license to do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. Too many people in today’s world abuse their rights. The only right a dead man has is the right to lie down and rot and turn back to dirt. That’s a promise made by God himself back in Genesis. From dust you are, to dust you will return.
Let me present this to you. As a Christian man of God, imperfect as I am, when I made the decision to invite Christ to be my Savior and to follow His ways and allow Him to lead me, I gave up all my rights. At that moment, I died to the sinful nature and was resurrected in Christ Jesus. Those of us who profess to be Christians should understand this truth.
For those of you who don’t understand this truth yet, allow me to give you a passage of Scripture to show you what I mean. It is a bit lengthy, but we all need a reminder.
Romans 6:1-14 New King James Version
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
As Christians, when we came to Christ, we gave up the right to be angry and hold offenses. We gave up the right to be unforgiving. We gave up the right to be critical and judgmental. Those are things from the sinful nature. Yes, I went there. As Christians, we don’t have the right to not forgive people or to hold grudges and be offended. PERIOD. End of discussion. The Bible teaches that if we don’t forgive others, the Father will not forgive us. It’s not so much that He won’t forgive us, but that He can’t forgive us if we don’t forgive.
There are also scientific findings that back up God about such matters as not forgiving. Not only spiritual implications, but there are also mental and physical effects we can look forward to. Here are some excerpts from some articles and their links so you can read for yourself.
Writing in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology in 2010, researchers Erick Messias, Anil Saini, Philip Sinato, and Stephen Welch report that those who said they tended to hold grudges reported higher rates of heart disease and cardiac arrest, elevated blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arthritis, back problems, headaches, and chronic pain than those who didn’t share this tendency. Though most scientists note that much more research is needed on the subject, this isn’t the only study linking unforgiveness to health problems. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/supersurvivors/201309/grudge-match-can-unforgiveness-be-bad-our-health
Physically the body is in a state of stress. Muscles tighten, causing imbalances or pain in the neck, back and limbs. Blood flow to the joints is restricted, making it more difficult for the blood to remove wastes from the tissues and reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Normal processes of repair and recovery from injury or arthritis are impaired. Clenching of the jaws contributes to problems with teeth and jaw joints. Headaches can become a problem. Chronic pain may get worse.
Those are just two out of multitudes. Anyhow, the point is, dead men have no rights. When we fuss about how so and so offended us and hurt us and hold onto it for three decades and talk about it daily, it only makes us miserable. And what’s more is that that offense or grudge has now become an idol in your life over God the Father.
But, there is freedom in Jesus’ name. The Bible tells us that those He sets free are free indeed.