Archive for forgiveness
we have looked to others throughout our lives and made “assessments” we’ll call them on how people choose to live their lives. we sit back in our theater style leather seats with a glass of our favorite beverage, bowl of our favorite snack and let the games begin. mental paper and pen ready, we begin the process of judgement. some fare better than others. some…based on the evaluator might as well hang it up and head straight to the fires of satan. we are evaluated for attributes from luxurious long blonde hair and thin stature to our choices resulting in regret and failure. the irony lies in who the “appraiser” really is…for the very one who looks down upon others is the one being judged by his maker. the reality is none of us are without fault, short comings, mistakes, failures….at what point do we sit back in that same theater style leather seating and take a look inside ourselves to provide that same “assessment” of our own actions and attributes? start today…because we aren’t here to provide a judiciary panel for mankind, that already exists. let’s evaluate our actions with the same razor sharp analysis we have for others and glorify God as we are expected.
Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
as time trucks along our path sometimes we are called to endure the rocky and muddy terrains, while other times we enjoy a smoother less eventful ride. we meet obstacles in our way and although sometimes we mow them over and succeed in spite of our challenges, other times we turn and run or make a wrong turn and quickly become lost. we are faced with cross roads, forked roads, dirt roads and fast-paced interstate. we are forced to make quick decisions on our direction if we have not made the proper preparations. we take varying ways of travel…sometimes direct, fast and unprepared. other times we are very careful…slow, mapped out and with a load of supplies and support staff. the one thing that is certain about the road we travel is that each of us has our very own. unlike anyone else’s. the journey is ours, but make no mistake, the road belongs to Him.
no matter what our age, the sooner we realize that this journey filled with bliss and riddled with defeat is the road that leads our life, the better the ride will be. our experiences make us who we are. our pain and failure can define us and create a drive to succeed we may have never known without the disappointment of falling short. our peace and happiness allows us to rebuild our strength, lift others up and appreciate better days. but it is up to us to use our journey and follow His road map. we have to pull out the instructions if we want to know what to do with the pieces we have been given. we have to listen to the lesson on how to operate the machine if we don’t want it to end up in the ditch…again. let’s go to Him with our struggles, confess our shortcoming, ask Him to lift us up, and praise Him constantly in better days. if we use our experience for His glory then everything we seek will become clear. we can realize our fate through our faith but only if we go to Him.
“The LORD said: People of Jerusalem, when you stumble and fall, you get back up, and if you take a wrong road, you turn around and go back. So why do you refuse to come back to me? Jeremiah 8:4
well, now that makes it easy, right? when those “trespass against us” we do have to forgive them, but apparently we don’t have to bother with the “vengeance”, He’ll do that.
Beloved, never avenge yourself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
o.k., so the pressure we feel to settle the score is off. we do not have to shoot the dirty looks to repay the anger, or deliver words that hurt to equal the pain. we do not have to speak ill of someone in order to ease our jealousy or barter our good will in exchange for fair play. the good news is that God has agreed to take on the “spite” and “ nanny, nanny, boo, boo” for us. we can all move forward with smiles and kindness toward one and other. we can look pass the acts against us and live in peace and harmony knowing the repayment will be dealt from above. right?
not exactly. forgiveness is the real charge isn’t it? when we accomplish this, we are truly set free from the shackles of hate and spite. if we cannot approach the people and challenges in our life with our best attempt to understand we will carry around the demons of other people. with a true surrender to forgiveness we know that we may never fully see why those around us find some strange satisfaction in making us feel small so that they may feel larger. but if we allow them to penetrate our soul then we take on the characteristics that have been assigned to us by our enemy and not by our savior.
read and imagine actually accomplishing this with someone who has hurt you…
“But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. but if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39
imagine having the strength of Christ within you in order that you could not only look past the acts against you but to offer them more… we could never achieve this alone. we are not expected to. ask yourself when we harbor the feelings that call for vengeance and spite, if we could take on the strength of our faith, turn to His example of mercy and focus on peace within ourselves. if we “pray for those who persecute” (Matthew 5:44) us and truly forgive… sweet freedom is ours!
we all live our lives in different ways. when it comes to our faith some of us are vocal about it, but only when asked. some may choose to share their relationship with God at any opportunity and witness as part of their repayment for blessings received. some may quietly live their Christian values, practice their faith, but not say too much about it. in fact the light might shine even brighter from these folks since actions can be so loud. so here is the disconnect for those Christians that don’t involve themselves in their own faith at all. they believe, they truly do. but some Christians don’t put action to their beliefs. for example, some of these people are the first to throw stones and judge. they know right and wrong and call it when they see it in others. but the Christian that commit to the teachings and the time needed to build an application of these principles to their lives know right from wrong too, however this group is more likely to call it when they see it in themselves. these Christians know there is no more and no less a child of God. the ones that head to church one or two sunday’s a year are at a disadvantage to hear God’s calling and guidance, but the ones showing up every week and not taking it home are of little difference. here’s the thing… those who study their faith know there is no reason to judge others and that they are as guilty of falling short of God’s perfection as the ones who haven’t open The Book in years. sin is relative … look it up. he didn’t just die for the ones reading the Bible, he died for all. the misunderstanding is by those who are not as committed to the practice of their faith as they sometimes accuse the ones who are for thinking themselves special and “holier than thou”. maybe it’s the other way around, maybe the ones that are committed are the ones that understand just how flawed we all really are and are only trying to get better with the only way they know how. by following the example of Christ.
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
we all get a little excited at the prospect of something new. a friend of mine is genuinely thrilled when she discovers a new pen that holds just right and has a great roll across the page. she would say it just makes a work day or a meeting happier with a fun pen. we can all feel that temporary rush of something new giving some reprieve from our problems or at least make the worry go away long enough that it gives us a chance to feel good for even a minute. new is shiny, new is unscratched, new has no history, it is a beginning and a clean slate. at the time when the seasons change we can feel this new beginning, it’s felt at back to school time, as students starts fresh with clean slates. no history with teacher’s, grades are all 100′s and friendships are made from scratch. this time of year opens a new book for many families…brand new school or even new stage of life like high school and college. here’s the thing though, every morning is a new day. don’t wait until the next new milestone to start again. we are promised that everyday we are forgiven. fresh starts are being given out everyday. no registration fee, no one day sale, no coupons needed. if you come to the orientation, find your way around, get to know what new offers/opportunities are available, you don’t have to wait for new year’s eve…the resolutions are here every morning when you wake up. get the “new” rush everyday.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.