October 20, 2016

Forgiveness Week Two

There are times when forgiveness is very difficult.  It might help in those times to reflect on God's design in forgiveness rather than the offense or the offender.  I can't help you in redirecting your thoughts, but if you choose to, I can give you some insight that might be blessing to you.

God does a lot more than any of us will ever be aware on this side of eternity, but I see at least five things that God is doing in and through us when we OBEDIENTLY forgive as He taught us to.  Here's what we looked at as a Church family this Sunday:

1.  God desires for Reconciliation.  This is our chief ministry in life.  The world won't believe the message we have if we aren't authentically living it out in our own lives and relationships.

2.  God desires for us to be guarded against sin.  When we release bitterness, vengeance, jealousy, pride, etc. in our hearts, and choose love - we are covering a multitude of sins that are ready to come to life if we choose the opposite. Forgiveness guards our hearts against more sin.

3.  God desires for us to grow spiritually through forgiveness.  If we hold onto that offense in our heart, we are being disobedient.  God is very clearing Hebrews 10, and Romans that disobedience will be dealt with just as a loving Father weens disobedience out of a strong-willed child.  You will not grow spiritually until your heart is made right with Him through the reconciliation with another - as much as it is up to you.

4.  God desires for us to be spiritually useful.  The scriptures are clear that while God uses disobedience, He requires His redeemed to submit to His leading in order to experience their redemptive purpose.  Jesus calls disobedient (unforgiving) children to remember what they are saved from (II Peter), to remember their first love (Revelations), to stop thinking and pursuing earthly goals (the gospels) in order to be useful to Him for His purposes.  A bitter heart hinders that fulfillment.

5.  Finally, God desires for us to witness about Christ.  Christ forgives once for all.  Period.  He doesn't call it up again once he has forgiven it.  He is full of grace and patience and enduring love.  Ephesians 1:7-8.

If you don't know Christ, you aren't forgiven and you can't experience grace like this.  You need to respond to that call you feel in your heart to renounce the wrong things in your life and then ask Jesus to make you a new creation and cleanse you for all the things that you agree are wrong and offensive to Him, your loving creator, Father, Savior and friend.  I John 1:9 says He promises then to forgive every sin, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

If you do know Christ.  That is exactly what the world needs to see.  God Bless.  You can listen to the sermon here.

With you for His glory,