11 August 2009

How Important is This in Your Life?

For the past few weeks we've been talking about forgiveness with our girls, and the importance of forgiveness especially in the Christian life. See I think forgiveness is one of the hardest things to overcome and to do as a person, especially for the unsaved world, otherwise the whole world would be saved right now! See it's much easier to forgive as a Christian, then as a person who is lost and without hope! Why? Because the unsaved doesn't see anything other than themselves. They look in the mirror and all they see is pride, emptiness and self gratification. When the saved person looks into the mirror, they see their wretchedness, and shame on the Cross of Christ Jesus.
They see their SIN
They see what Jesus endured for their salvation
They see Jesus and His selfless sacrifice
They see His love for a fallen and broken world
They see His forgiveness to all who come by repentance and faith.

Jesus set the standard to which we are to follow, Jesus said "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." Mark 11:25-26. God’s forgiveness of us demands that we forgive others. Why? Because it’s only by His grace that are forgiven and it’s only by His grace that we are able to forgive others. Christian forgiveness starts with a heart for reconciliation, not resentment and bitterness. Why? Because God places no limits on the extent to which Christians are to forgive others otherwise if God put limits on forgiveness, no one could be saved. Listen to what Jesus said to Peter when asked about forgiveness: Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Jesus said forgiveness should be granted unendingly, we must always forgive no matter what). Matt 18:22. See when it comes to the matter of forgiveness we have to consider what the Lord Jesus demands from us. It may require you and me to make the first move towards reconciliation with the person who hurt you. For example Stephen the first martyr as he faces the Sanhedrin (Acts 7) with a loud voice “Lord do not charge them with this sin”, David in his wickedness with Bathsheba (Psalms 51) “have mercy upon me, O God”, Jesus’ love for his broken servant Peter (John 21) “Lord you know all things; you know I love you”, Joseph over his brother’s betrayal (Gen 45 a) “he kissed all his brothers and wept over them...” Every single one of those people displayed a willingness to listen to their hearts because they knew who they served the sovereign Lord of all creation. Is there someone you know who needs your help of encouragement, in this area of forgiveness? I guess the big personal question is do you need help in this area of your life? Or Do you say this is not for me, you really don’t know what I have been through Mike? Your right I don’t know what you have been through, but I know one thing, there is someone who does, and He laid His life down for you and me His name is Jesus Christ! Don’t let selfish pride get in the way of a refreshed and fervent (a burning passionate) heart for others."He who cannot forgive others destroys the bridge over which he himself must pass." George Herbert. I like how Neider and Thompson put it:
To forgive is to turn the key, open the cell door, and let the prisoner walk free.
To forgive is to write in large letters, across a debt, “nothing owed”.
To forgive is to pound the gavel in a courtroom and declare, “Not Guilty!”
To forgive is to bundle up all the garbage and trash and dispose of it, leaving the house clean and fresh.
To forgive is to loose the moorings of a ship and release it to the open sea.
To forgive is to grant a full pardon to a condemned criminal.
To forgive is to smash a clay pot into a thousand pieces so it can never be pieced together again.
We must seek to forgive. We must seek to be forgiven if you are ever to expect to have a heart like: Paul, Philemon, Onesimus, David, Stephen, Joseph, Woman at the well, The thief on the cross and most of all like our Lord Jesus. Listen to what Paul said in Ephesus “..... do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:30-32. It is vital that we try our best to seek forgiveness in all situations of our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit, because it leads to joy and a clear conscience of heart. We all make mistakes sometimes and we all need to be forgiven of something we have done to our shame.
Christ called it sin and we need to be able to forgive any and all of our little problems or grievances that come our way whether big or small. Why? Because Jesus, did for you and for me! Need I say anything else? To Him be the Glory...

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