Forgive me

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18

I’ve been hurt. I’ve hurt others. This is because of the human condition I was born into. That explains the why, but what about my response? That is what God is interested in as I grow and mature in my walk with him. Being hurt does not give me a free ticket to retaliate, but it does offer a lesson in forgiveness. Hurting others gives me an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and seek reconciliation. These can be tough lessons, but to do them will bring growth and freedom to me. I must truly love myself to be able to offer that love to others, which means I need to forgive myself for offenses I have done in my life.

Peace and freedom begins with us. If we are holding onto anger and bitterness, growing in our faith will be very difficult. Allowing God to take that from our tight grasp will leave our arms open to embrace the lovely things the Lord has planned for us. His plan for us is beautiful … don’t miss it.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the lessons you have placed in my life and for helping me through them. I pray that I can grab unto the opportunities of forgiveness for myself and others. Amen

Faith Tip: Ask God to reveal a hurt that hasn’t been healed in you. Are you holding on to it tightly? It may be time to let go and let God handle it. He’s very good at it.

 

 

Paybacks

The national debt clock outside the IRS office...

The national debt clock outside the IRS office in NYC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And forgive us our debts, 
   as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12

I heard those words that we have all heard at one time or another, “I owe you one.” I was to meet with someone, but communication didn’t get through to everyone as happens many times, so I went and they didn’t. The person who set up this meeting felt they owed me something for my inconvenience. 

Whether it is a meeting not kept, a lunch bought for someone, or some other “indebtedness” situation where one feels like they need to payback something to the other, the sense of owing is well known by many. There’s a belief that if someone does something for you, you need to do something for them. That adds a price tag to good deeds.

When Christ paid for our sin, it was the ultimate price paid. There is nothing we can do to payback this action. Our debt of sin was paid in full … free and clear. While there is no repayment plan in place, we can respond to Jesus’ sacrifice to forgive us by forgiving others … no matter what. That’s what the Lord did for us. We did not deserve forgiveness, but he forgave us all anyway. We can pay it forward.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, your forgiveness for me helps me realize that I am to forgive others. There is no one on earth that doesn’t need your grace. I pray the grace you have shown me will be reflected on others as I dispense grace unto them. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there someone you need to give grace and forgiveness to?

Cleaning the files

Another icon for the Archive box template. Mad...

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“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 

As I go through files in my office, it’s kind of a trip down memory lane in connection with the projects I have worked on and people the Lord has brought into my life. I’m not crazy about filing, but I do love to reminisce. Unfortunately, along with the great times that have happened in the past, there have also been challenges. These we would just as soon forget. However, we can “forget” or let these experiences have less of a hold on us in forgiving the people involved. If we hold on to the anger and bitterness, we are hurting others but mostly ourselves.

When Jesus died on the cross, there was a big file of bad situations marked Sin. We were and are guilty. Jesus forgave us and suffered for us. If the Lord of the universe can do that for us, there’s no reason we can’t do that for someone else. Free yourself from the bonds of not forgiving. It’s not worth hanging onto any longer. God wants you to trust him and be free.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank you for forgiving, loving and dying for me. You didn’t have to do it. I pray that I can obey you and forgive others who have hurt me. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there someone the Lord has brought to your mind to forgive? Pray, trust and forgive.

The season of love

LOVE

Image by Nina Matthews Photography(find me on FB via Flickr

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

She slowly opened the red envelope found on the kitchen counter. Her eyes delighted in the beautiful scene of children playing in a field…carefree. Opening the card, she noticed a handwritten message saying, “I’m sorry for the pain I have caused you. Please forgive me. I want us to be free to love one another like the children on the cover of the card. I love you so much.” She found herself desiring the same thing—freedom to love one another with nothing between them to restrict it.

That’s how God wants us to love one another. Jesus modeled it on earth by showing grace and mercy to all he came in contact with. He didn’t keep a tab of the wrongs people did. He loves them completely and longs for relationship with all. Focusing on the past will keep our heart imprisoned with feelings of anger, bitterness, discouragement, and other chains that drag us down. The key to freedom is forgiveness. Offer the gift to others just as Jesus offered it to us.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the wonderful gift of grace that you offered me. I grasp onto that grace and pray that I can offer it to others as you have. Amen

Faith Tip: Discern how free you are to love. Do you want to love freely? Trust Jesus in helping you take steps today to freedom.

Tracking points

calculator

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Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).

I don’t count calories—I count points. That’s the new way Weight Watchers has established their healthier way of living program, PointsPlus. All foods and activities are given a point value. For the food, it is calculated by the protein, fiber, carbs and fat. All fruits are given a zero point value and most veggies are, too. The bonus is that there are 49 extra weekly points to use so that the person on the program doesn’t feel like they are missing out. I personally find the program working well for me so far, and truly enjoy the fellowship and tips at the meetings. Tracking points each day is becoming a habit for me.

Isn’t it interesting that there were a certain number of times given to forgive someone? I think the cultural score for forgiveness during Jesus’ time was below seven times, so Peter thought he would up the ante and say seven. Jesus helps him break out of that counting box by saying 77 times. Of course, he was saying to just forgive and don’t track the trespasses against you. I wonder if we struggle with forgiving seven times or even once. I wonder how many wrongs we have done against God, but I imagine a lot more than 77. Yet, God forgave us over and over again—he didn’t track. Jesus paid the cost for all of our sins. Making the habit of stop tracking the trespasses will enable us to live a healthier and happier life.

Prayer: Thank you, dear Lord, for forgiving me. I pray that I may forgive others freely and not hold on to any bitterness that will make me unhealthy and unhappy. Amen

Faith Tip: Forgive and be set free. Start today.

Loving the unlovable

Fight

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).

God works through our weaknesses. One of our weaknesses is loving people who hate us. For whatever reason, they want nothing to do with us, talk us down, and sometimes even go out of their way to make life miserable for us. I have read many accounts through Voice of the Martyrs where people are brutalized or killed and the victim or family forgive the one who caused the assault and actually show love to them. This is love empowered only by God. There is not a love in this world that can compare to that. It reminds me of how Jesus was crucified, yet he asked his Father to forgive them for they didn’t know what they were doing. I think that’s true for anyone who hates another or does evil against them. They truly don’t realize the big picture ramifications. They don’t understand the love God has for them.

What is our reaction? Humanly, we want to strike back at someone who hits us. When we allow God’s Spirit to work through us at those moments by not striking back and being kind to them, it is noticed. This is so unique in today’s world that it is taken in by all who witness—even the aggressor. God’s glory is lit up for all to see. How will they respond? That is unknown and not really your concern. Your response is your responsibility.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that I can plug into your supernatural love as I relate to people. Those who I find more difficult may your love shine even brighter. Amen

Faith Tip: Today in your interactions with people, see who God has put in your path to be extra intentional to show his love.

Reconcile in the name of peace

Argue

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What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

In this season of Thanksgiving, we remember the things in which we are thankful. As you make your list, either written or mentally, do you find that you are thankful for fights or quarrels? Usually not. What we can be thankful for are the times when reconciliation is experienced. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” He didn’t say blessed are the peacemakers only if they are right. So isn’t it more important to experience peace then to be right?

In a situation of disagreement you are experiencing right now, where you feel you are right and the other person is wrong, are you willing to give up your “rightness” and place it at the foot of the cross for the sake of reconciliation? If not, you may want to ask yourself why it is so important to hold on tightly to being right. Where is the focus…on you or God?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities to reconcile. It is difficult to do so at the time, but feels so much better afterwards. It is important to do our part as we follow you. I pray we can be obedient to you in doing so. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider the relationships in your life that need reconciling. Pray for direction and be obedient to what God tells you.