Tag Archives: let

Let It Go, Monkey | Bible Gleanings – April 24-25, 2021

Let It Go, Monkey

Monkeys may be smart but they are also selfish. That’s what African poachers have observed as they’ve lured and captured hundreds of unsuspecting primates in order to smuggle and sell them illegally. According to one wildlife conservation organization, about three-thousand chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans are unlawfully seized or killed every year. And from Cameroon to Zimbabwe, these criminal hunters have discovered one fail proof method for snatching a monkey: taking advantage of the monkey’s greed.

Colorful and appealing items like bananas are placed inside the cages that poachers litter across monkey-populous rainforests and grasslands. Of course, this entices the monkeys, but they have become smart enough over time to know better than to enter the cages. Instead, they try to steal the bait from the outside. They reach inside through the bars, tighten their grip, and try everything from chewing to screaming in an attempt to seize the enticing object. However, trappers hiding nearby are well aware that their gnawing and squealing leads only to their capture, as the bait object is intentionally too large to pass through. The monkey is then hopelessly trapped by his refusal to let go. He remains enslaved as long as he has a death grip on the bait. If the monkey would learn to let go, he could avoid captivity and happily roam the jungle.

Unfortunately, it is our sinner-tendency to act like a monkey when it comes to forgiving others of their trespasses against us. Although Jesus directs us to forgive those who have wronged us (Matt. 6:14-15), our natural impulse is to clamp down on their offenses. We think to ourselves, “Until I feel you have repaid me for the wrong you’ve done, I will never let this go!” The worst part about it is we actually become sin’s monkey when we refuse to forgive. If you are withholding forgiveness from a wrongdoer in your life, you are the one in captivity. As long as you have a relentless grip on someone’s offense or debt, you will remain captured by the prison of unforgiveness. And what God wants you to do, for your own benefit, is let go. 

You might be thinking, “But I can’t forgive—I just can’t.” Can I tell you something surprising? You are absolutely right. The first step in forgiving someone is recognizing that you can’t do it on your own. Unforgiveness is part of your nature as sin’s monkey—forgiveness is contrary to it.

Therefore, what you need in order to forgive is something divine: the grace of God. It’s no surprise, then, that when Paul wrote to Philemon about forgiving his wrongdoer, Onesimus, he prayed first that God would grant him the grace to forgive: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philemon 3).

Forgiveness is not something to monkey around with. If you don’t let go by God’s grace, unforgiveness will never let you go.

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Day 5: Let It Snow!

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” —Isaiah 1:18

Nothing is more enchanting and pleasant than waking up on Christmas morning to a blanket of snow covering the neighborhood. Nearly everyone dreams of a white Christmas because it just feels like Christmas when there is snow on the ground. Without snow, there are no snowmen, snowball fights, or dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Snow and Christmas pair together like hot cocoa and marshmallows.

Snow is also a biblical symbol for purity and righteousness. To the Jews, snow was the purest form of white. It appears pure, clean, and perfect when it falls from the sky. It even covers the filth and dirt of the earth. It is no wonder that people in the Bible desired to be as pure as snow, like David who prayed: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). The prophet Daniel also used this imagery in describing his vision of God on His throne, as One who is uncompromisingly pure and righteous: “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow” (Daniel 7:9a).

In Isaiah 1:18, the Lord told His people that their sins were undeniably noticeable—as red as red can be—like scarlet. Their lives were stained, filthy, and impure. They needed to be cleansed and scrubbed of the sin that colored their lives. God assured them that they could be made white like snow if they turned to Him (vv. 19-20). Though they were covered in filth, they could be snow-white through the Lord’s thorough washing.

You are also in need of such cleansing from the Lord. Ironically, the only way to receive cleansing from the red stain of your sins is through the blood of Jesus. As John the apostle said, “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7b). His death makes you whiter than snow in the sight of God because He clothed Himself in the filthy rags of your sin and in exchange gives you the white robes of His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). You receive this cleansing when you turn away from your sins and express faith in Christ alone (Acts 17:30; Ephesians 2:8-9).

What’s more ironic is that it snows during the Christmas season—the time when you remember and celebrate Christ’s coming into the world to save you from your sin. Is it possible that it snows this time of year as a sign from God that Christ came on Christmas day to make you whiter than snow?

profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie, Aries, and Dot.