Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts

Thursday, April 20, 2023

An Essential Part of Discipleship

Forgiveness is a essential part of being a disciple of Jesus. Forgiveness is not only about releasing others from their wrongdoing, but it is also about freeing ourselves from the pain and hurt that have been holding us back.

In Colossians 3:13, it says:
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. This verse highlights the importance of forgiveness and encourages us to forgive others as God has forgiven us. (NLT)

It is understandable to hold onto past hurts as a way of protecting ourselves from future pain, but this can be detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Instead of protecting us, holding onto anger and resentment creates a constant state of negativity, which prevents us from fully living our lives. Not forgiving is like carrying a heavy backpack filled with rocks that weighs us down and makes it difficult to move forward.

Forgiveness is a process of letting go of the pain and negativity we have been holding onto. It does not mean excusing or justifying the actions of the person who hurt us. Instead, it is about releasing ourselves from the burden of anger, resentment, and hurt. When we forgive, we create space for healing and reconciliation, and we give ourselves permission to move on from the past and focus demonstrating God’s character in this world.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15; NLT)

This teaching emphasizes the importance of forgiveness not only for our own healing but also for our relationship with God. We can’t demonstrate God’s character, which includes His forgiving nature, while withholding forgiveness from others.

Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is essential for our wellbeing and spiritual growth. It is a choice that we make for both the person who hurt us and for ourselves. By forgiving, we let go of the hurt and pain that's been holding us back and create room for healing and reconciliation. We owe it to ourselves and our relationship with God to let go and move forward, free from the past so we can continue to follow Jesus into the future.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Making Impact

Our world has been corrupted by sin and evil. This reality means that poverty, abuse, racism, hunger, and numerous other tragedies are a common part of life.

As individuals, we feel powerless to solve the world's biggest problems like world peace, global hunger, or the crime in our communities. We can wonder if our actions make any real difference in the face of these huge problems.

As followers of Jesus we are called to be lights in the world. In other words, we are to be a positive influence in the world. The Bible teaches us that our choice to love, to forgive, and to serve can have a huge impact on the people around us.

In 1 Corinthians 13, commonly called the "love chapter," the Apostle Paul wrote about the power of love.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3; NLT)
Paul went on to describe love in terms such as patience, kindness, and forgiveness. Love is not only important, but it is essential to our relationships with others.

Love is crucial for influencing the world around us. Forgiveness is another powerful tool in making an impact on our families, churches, and communities. In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus told Peter that he should forgive his brother seventy times seven times. This is not meant to be taken literally, but rather it emphasizes the importance of forgiving others, even when it's difficult. Forgiveness opens up the way for healing and restoration to occur. This is crucial to break the cycle of exclusion, retaliation, and revenge.

Service is a third way that we can make an impact in our communities. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus said that when we serve others, we are serving him. He went on to say that when we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, and visit those in prison, we are doing it for him. Service is not only important in helping others, but it also allows us to see the face of Christ in those we serve.

Our actions may not result in world peace or solve global hunger or diminish crime in our communities, but our choice to love, to forgive, and to serve can have a huge impact on those around us.

When we choose to love, we create an environment of kindness and respect. When we choose to forgive, we break the cycle of exclusion, retaliation, and revenge. When we choose to serve, we help meet the needs of those around us and show them the love of Christ.

We need to remember that we can make a difference in our communities by choosing to love, forgive, and serve those around us. Followers of Jesus need to strive to embody the love, to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us, and to serve those in need. When this becomes our way of life, the church can make a real impact on the people in our communities, and we can bring a little bit of heaven to earth.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Following Jesus to New Life


Following Jesus is a journey of faith that leads to the transformation of our lives. This journey is available to anyone, no matter what kind of life they have lived or how many wrong choices they have made, as long as they trust Jesus to be their guide.

In his book, Seizing Your Divine Moment, Erwin McManus wrote, "No matter what kind of life you've lived, no matter how many wrong choices you've made, the next moment is waiting to give birth to new life."

This quote is a powerful reminder that following Jesus is about looking forward, not backward and trusting that He can transform our lives, no matter what our past looks like.

One passage that teaches this truth is John 8:1-11, where a woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus. The religious leaders demand that she be stoned, as required by the law of Moses. However, Jesus responds in a surprising way. He says, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).

The crowd disperses, and Jesus speaks to the woman, telling her that He does not condemn her, but He also commands her to "go and sin no more" (John 8:11). This encounter shows us that no matter how far we have strayed from the path of righteousness, Jesus is always ready to forgive us and give us a new start.

Following Jesus requires leaving our past behind and embracing the new life He offers us. It means recognizing our mistakes, confessing our sins, repenting, and turning to God for forgiveness. When we do this, we experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit  in our lives, which enables us to move forward with confidence and hope.

Another benefit of following Jesus is that we discover a sense of purpose and direction. When we commit to following Jesus, we commit to living a life that is guided by His teachings and His example, as we trust His death and resurrection for hope and new life.

Living a life guided by Jesus's teaching is to live with love, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity. It means working to conform to the image of Jesus by doing the disciplines He did (prayer, fasting, solitude, service). This is the way we align our lives with God's will.

Faith is crucial to following Jesus. To have faith means we trust Jesus more than we trust ourselves. We trust that He will forgive our sins, help us overcome the sin and the doubt that plague our lives, heal our wounded hearts, and make us new creations. Living with faith in Jesus moves us to believe that no matter what kind of life we have lived, He has the power to forgive us and make us into brand new people.

Following Jesus is a journey of transformation, maturity, and renewal. This journey is open to anyone, no matter who they are or what they have done. So let's seize the divine moment and commit to following Jesus, trusting that He will transform our lives and give us a new future full of faith, joy, hope, and love.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Trust God to Forgive

It is never easy to admit that we have made a mistake. 

The bigger the mistake the more we want to hide it, deny it, or ignore it. 

It is no wonder that we have a hard time confessing our sin, even in our private prayers to God. The result is that we carry around a complex baggage of guilt, shame, temptation, and habitual sin. This reality makes it difficult to accept God’s promise of forgiveness.

I know that I find it hard to confess my sins to God because I am embarrassed about what my sin reveals about my weakness. 

 After all I should know better! 

 “If I truly had faith,” I reason, “this sin wouldn’t be a problem.”

As a result I keep my distance from God. I don’t want to be weak faithless fool before Him.

Perhaps you struggle with asking for forgiveness because you are afraid of God. 

There is a voice inside of your mind telling you that if you confess your sins to God then He will punish you.  

“After all,” you think,  “isn’t God going to judge lawbreakers?”

In his book Created to Be God’s Friend, Henry Blackaby wrote:

Faith is lived out through trust. 

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Do I trust God to forgive me? 

If we don’t trust God to forgive then we won’t turn to Him and confess our sins. 

Instead we will run away and hide. We will ignore the sin that is ruining our lives. We will do every thing we can think of to avoid God.

For us to trust people we have to believe that they have our best interest at heart.

This means we need to answer this question: Is there any reason why we should trust God to forgive us?
The reason we can trust God is Jesus. 

The life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the evidence we need to trust that God will forgive us. This is true, no matter who we are or what we have done.

The writer of the book of Hebrews gave us this gem of truth:

How do we come before the throne of God? 

First, it requires our surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. If we are not willing to be a follower of Jesus it is impossible for us to experience God’s gift of forgiveness. Jesus is the High Priest who has prepared the way to God. There is no other way to forgiveness except through Jesus.

Second, we need to confess our sins to God through prayer. God knows our sins, and He has declared His willingness to forgive. Yet, forgiveness requires the acknowledgement that we have done something wrong. This is an act of trust, because we need to believe that God has our best interest at heart. So we confess our sin because we trust that God will forgive us.

Third, we need to worship God. From singing praise songs to serving people in need, it is important that we set our hearts towards God. Worship requires the right motivation more than it requires the right actions. We can go through the motions of worship without love and trust. Worship that is grounded in faith is the type of worship that God desires from us.

Living in these bodies of flesh in this world means that sin will be a part of our lives. 

Not only do we need constantly struggle with sin to eliminate it from our lives, we also have to trust God to forgive us when we sin. 

God is gracious and willing to forgive us, but we need to turn to Him and ask for it.

Trust God to forgive you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Keep Moving in the Right Direction

 I need this reminder.

With the enthusiasm of New Year's Resolutions fading away, I am guessing you may need to hear it too.

Changing our behavior is hard work and it takes time. 

Very rarely are people able to make significant life changes over night. Not only do we have undo years of habit development, but often we have to deal with our own negative self talk. 

At times it really seems like there is a part of us that doesn't want to change, regardless of how bad and unhealthy our behavior may be.

Something that I have been dealing with the last few weeks is the voice that tells me, "That is too little and too late." There is a part of me that wants me to believe that it doesn't matter what I do, all my effort will be a waste in the end. At times it feels like true lasting change is a hopeless dream.

When I listen to that voice I fall back on my old habits. When that I happens I want to throw in the towel and give up.

This is why it is crucial to remember that a mistake is not an excuse to give up. Nothing would ever change if we gave up when a mistake was made.

We need to remember that mistakes happen. They are part of learning a new skill, and it is okay if we are not perfect. The more we work on what we are changing, the easier it will become.

Remember what John wrote; "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9; NLT)

God provided a way for us to leave our sin in the past. He knew that we were going to stumble and fall, and so He made sure that even in our sin there would be an opportunity to return to Him.

Because of forgiveness, our sin is not an excuse to give up.

If that is true for sin, how much more true is it for the mistakes we make as we try to alter our habits and change our lives?

Since God forgives our sins, then we should be able to forgive ourselves of the mistakes we make, and keep moving in the direction of becoming a better person.

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