Category Archives: Forgiveness
How did we get to be a world so divided? Anger and hatred seem to fill people’s hearts – racial prejudice, political unrest, anti-authority, vengeance, religious persecution, status, poverty all come into play. Look at the mass shooting in Las Vegas, looting and price gouging after the natural disasters, suicide bombers, refugees fleeing for their lives, and so much more.
I wonder if some of the reason we are so angry is because we’ve forgotten Jesus teaching about treating others decently when He gave His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Remember the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12. I know I have messed up (okay, let’s call it what it is – SIN) many times. In my devotions lately, I’ve spent time in 1 Peter. Recently 1 Peter 3:8-9 touched my heart –
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT
Literally, I felt God pointing a finger at my heart, reminding me of the times I have retaliated with insults and actions when someone has said things or done things that hurt me. At those times, I’ve forgotten that I am a witness of what it means to have Jesus Christ in my heart. I haven’t allowed His love to fill me and treat others with His love. I have since spent time confessing those actions and been assured as a believer of Christ as my Savior, that I am washed clean by His blood – I am forgiven! But I am also challenged by His word to live for Him, as His example.
I remember growing up hearing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all;” and my parents and teachers reminding us of the T.H.I.N.K. acronym:
When I read 1 Peter 3:8-9 from the Amplified Version,
Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].
I was challenged and encouraged by the words – “but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection];”. When others hurt me, I need to pray for them, for their well-being, contentment and protection. I need to have the perspective of Christ, caring for them. Let’s be the change – God’s Love wins over hate.
Praying you are filled with God’s love so you can bless others ~ Faye
I like the saying – “If you can explain God, He wouldn’t be God.” People try to explain the Holy Spirit and His work. Believers in Christ Jesus are given the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives to help them in their growing relationship with God so they may encourage others in their walk with God. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12-14, that the Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts of encouragement, hospitality, faith, healing, and many more gifts. And in Galatians 5:22-23,
“… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In John 3, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a Jewish Religious Leader. Jesus explained to Nicodemus how a person can enter the Kingdom of God. He said, . . .
“without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:5b-8 [New Living Translation]
The Holy Spirit isn’t easy to explain, and neither is how He works to change people’s hearts to believe. That’s where FAITH comes in. We need to surrender our hearts and believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God. He died to forgive us of ALL of our sins. All we need to do is BELIEVE. When we do that the Holy Spirit lives in us and begins to change us to be more and more like Jesus every day.
It’s that time of year when Christians observe Lent, a period leading up to Holy Week, where Christ’s death is observed. It culminates in the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection Easter Sunday.
Christians look at the blessings of Christ’s sacrificial death to cleans us, purify us from our sins and give us the assurance of eternal life with Him.
Praying you will know the blessing of being washed whiter than snow ~ Faye
I recently spent a few hours touring a Holocaust Museum. Holocaust is from a Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” I’m awed, humbled, and grieved at the atrocities that occurred. We heard a female survivor speak. She was only 5 years old when she was taken to Dachau and later moved to Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen. She was 7 years old when Liberation Day came. When the troops came across her emaciated body, they thought she was a baby because of her size. She shared how she survived those difficult days by allowing her mind to be creative and imaginative. She remembers not having energy to move for anything and lying among the dead and dying. She was interned with Anne Frank who died a month before Liberation Day. Her main reason for sharing her story is so that people don’t forget the injustices. So people remember to treat each other with respect and dignity. She realizes that when we forget what has happened in the past, we will be prone to repeat the atrocities again.
I left with many questions – “Why does God allow such wrongs?” “Why don’t I stand up for the person ridiculed?” “Why can’t we stop bullying?” But I was blessed by the strength of the speaker when she told of how her father, who also survived, became a devout Atheist, while she gained her strength to go through life from her belief in God. She reminds me a lot of Corrie ten Boom, who shares the story of meeting one of her concentration camp guards years later and all the anger and hatred came back, but then God reminded her to love and forgive.
In Romans 12, God says,
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them.If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Seeing history like this is painful and part of me didn’t want to go, but I’m really glad I did. It is a good reminder to Love One Another with God’s Abundant Love and Grace. It’s a painful period of history, but one that teaches us a lot about how to treat others. If you want to learn more, check out these links: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Holocaust Museum St. Louis, or Corrie ten Boom’s story.
I am greatly blessed by God’s amazing gift – the gift of forgiveness and grace. Enjoying His love ~ Faye
I’ve been reading the book of Judges recently. I’ve been amazed at how gracious and compassionate our LORD is. The Israelites followed God, then turned away from Him and worship idols. This cycle repeats itself continually throughout Judges, and for that matter throughout the Bible. We look back and wonder why in the world would the Israelites continue to turn from God and the amazing things (miracles of protection and guidance) He has done for them. They turn to idols. They focus on material things. They seek their own pleasures. How fickle can they be? How ungrateful can they be?
And then ‒
I look at myself. I’ll start the morning, even before getting out of bed: praising God for a new day, thanking Him that I belong to Him, asking Him to guide my footsteps, devoting my time to Him. Just a little while later, I’ll get impatient, upset, or frustrated when someone offends me or doesn’t do what I think they should. I’ll take control of my life, and do what I want to do. I’ll waste God’s precious time looking at whatever on the Internet or watching TV. I forget the promptings from God and do what I want. I’ll forget all the blessings He has bestowed on me and become self-centered once again. I am just like the Israelites. It is a daily pattern! I know better ‒ just like the Israelites did.
Psalm 103:8-10 says, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”
I’m so grateful God is abundantly generous and patient with me. There’s an old song based on Psalm 51:7 that has been in my head since we’ve had our first measurable snowfall:Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul; Break down every idol, cast out every foe— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Lord Jesus, look down from Your throne in the skies And help me to make a complete sacrifice. I give up myself and whatever I know Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat; I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet. By faith, for my cleansing I see Your blood flow Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait; Come now and within me a new heart create. To those who have sought You, You never said “No” Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow, Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
©James L. Nicholson, Public Domain
I’m so grateful and blessed that He is so willing to pour out His love and grace. “Come, now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18
Enjoy the blessings of God’s abundant grace ~ Faye
I love God’s sense of humor in His leading in my life. I woke this morning fully intent on writing about 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” But by the time I sat down for my devotions on that passage, God had other plans for me today. My mind messed up, and instead I read 2 Corinthians 2:3-4, and ended up reading 2:1-11. I don’t remember this story of Paul’s life.
A little background from my study notes: Paul was grieved by a previous visit to the Corinthians. Paul severely rebuked the church. It sounds like there was a specific person who caused both Paul and the church considerable pain. Paul didn’t want to cause more pain by another visit, so he wrote a strong letter to them. After reading several translations, it appears the person who caused the difficulties had repented and had been punished sufficiently. Paul was encouraging the believers to now come along beside him, forgive him and comfort him. First, because otherwise the person could be overwhelmed by sorrow. Second, by forgiving the person, it takes Satan out of the situation. It doesn’t give him any victory or an opportunity to continue to tear apart God’s kingdom. Third, forgiveness heals not only the offender, but also the offended.
Boy do I need that perspective some days!
God has blessed me recently to see the beginning of a relationship rebuilding following a deep hurt by a close friend. It took time and prayer. It took intentionally focusing on the love God’s has for him. I had to once again see the person as loved, cherished, and cared for by God in order to begin to forgive. I had to remember the many good things my friend had done. After a time, God began melting the hardness in my heart and mending the hurt. My friend did something that hurt many people and is spending some time in prison because of it. God began to weigh heavily on my heart that I needed to show him the love God has shown me. I began journaling and praying my hurts to God. Then I began with a card of prayers for him as he faced an uncertain future. I was blessed to receive a heartfelt and sincere letter of apology. Healing continues. I recently wrote him as we would have talked in the past. God again blessed me with a letter back from him, talking of his life right now and some of the ways God was working in him and his love for his family.
God’s grace is freely given for us all. We need to reach out to others with that cleansing grace. God has blessed me greatly through the process of forgiveness with my friend. I’ve read several books by Louis B. Smedes on forgiveness in the past. One thing I remember from Smedes is – “Forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you.” Smedes says, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” That seems all the more important to me these days as I think what life in prison must be like for my friend, and I pray for him and his family.
You will know that forgiveness has begun, when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. – Lewis B. Smedes. Praising God for His guiding, healing and wonderful grace poured out for each one of us.
Praying you may enjoy the abundant blessing of God’s amazing grace today ~ Faye