Rick Warren: How the Cross Can Free Us From Bondage

ScreengrabPastor Rick Warren speaking on faith

The cross has the power to free you from bondage in life, Pastor Rick Warren says.

Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, wrote in a recent blog post that the cross has the power to free us of negative feelings, including resentment, bitterness and mistrust.

"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," Warren explains, adding that the cross has the power to free us from "the 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," the megachurch pastor continues.

Warren references Romans 6:6, which explains how Jesus' death on the cross forgave us of our sins and saved us from a life of bitterness and regret.

"We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us," the verse reads.

The evangelical leader concludes his message by calling on all Christians to say a prayer of forgiveness, so they may be freed from the hurt and bitterness that accompany resentment.

"Father, only you understand how much I've been hurt by this person. 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," the prayer says, in part.

The prayer goes on to thank Jesus for His sacrifice for us, asking that we may forgive, just as he has forgiven us.

"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 that person again until the pain is gone. Heal my heart with your grace," the prayer concludes.

Warren wrote in a blog post earlier this week that while Jesus does call us to forgive, there is a difference between immediate forgiveness and a restoration of trust, which takes much longer.

"Forgiveness does not mean the instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is instant. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Forgiveness is based on grace. Trust is built on works. You earn trust. You don't earn forgiveness," Warren writes in the previous blog post.

The megachurch pastor adds that forgiveness is something we do for our own sake, so we may move on from feelings of pain.

"Forgiveness is only your part, whether they respond or not, whether they ask for it or not, whether they even recognize they need it or not. You forgive for your sake. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It takes repentance. It takes restitution and a rebuilding of trust. And it often takes much more time," he says.