Archive for forgiveness

Nov
18

The Grace to Forgive

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birthday giftsQuickly name the 5 people you most struggle to forgive. Name the folks you resent. Hate. Dislike. Feel hurt by.

Maybe you didn’t think of 5. Perhaps it was 2. Or 10. Whatever the number is, the truth is we all struggle to forgive at times.

We believe we should. It’s biblical. We often say we forgive, but then we think of that face. The face of the one who hurt us. The one who betrayed us. Let us down. Mistreated us. Ignored us. And that feeling rises in our heart right along with our blood pressure and there it is. Anger. Resentment. Bitterness.

However you paint it, the core issue is a much more vulnerable feeling than the anger and its defensive friends. The core issue is hurt.

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Mar
30

The Grace of the Cross

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 On this weekend as we reflect on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, my heart is gripped by the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice, the depths of his obedience, the riches of his gift, and the disconcerting path God chose for our redemption. And I am drawn to reflect on the grace of the cross.

Jesus, declaring the purposes of his earthly ministry, stood up in the synagogue (Luke 4:18) amidst the religious systems of his day and proclaimed that his heart was for the poor, the brokenhearted, those bound in sin, the ones blinded, and the oppressed. Foretastes of grace reverberated throughout the atmosphere; the rumbles began, as Jesus declared that the prophecy of Isaiah 61 was being fulfilled.

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Nov
20

Do You Need to Forgive Yourself?

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forgivenessWhat is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done? What is the worst mistake you’ve ever made? What is the greatest harm you’ve ever committed to another human?

Do you have your list? Did the pictures in your mind come up faster than high-speed internet?

Most of us don’t have any trouble recalling the worst moments of our lives. I imagine that when I asked those questions, you not only recalled the “bad” things you have done, but you also reconnected to some feelings of shame and guilt.

A foundational truth of Christianity is that we come into relationship with God through forgiveness based on the work of Christ. We maintain the flow of fellowship both with God and man by confessing our sins and appropriating the purifying work of Christ into our daily lives.

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Oct
04

Forgiving

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forgiveForgiving.  It’s basic Christianity, right? It’s fundamental. It’s like a required course for all Christians, Forgiveness 101. You gotta take it. Every single student has to enroll in this class. So we take the course. We think we figure it out. We know we have to forgive in order to be forgiven. We breathe prayers, “Lord, I forgive __________.” That should cover it, huh? And then we find out that the course has a second semester, Forgiveness 102. So we enroll because we have to. We think we get the material and we’ll sort of have this stuff conquered. And then we find there is Forgiveness 201 and 202 and 301 and 302 and 401 and 402.  Then for those who will do the work there is Forgiveness 501 and 601 and so it goes.

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Jul
19

I’m Sorry

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apology-couple Like molasses reluctantly ascending from an overturned jar, my words moved from somewhere deep within. The battle raged. I wanted to apologize, and yet, I didn’t. One part of my heart was tender, caring, and repentant. Another part was calloused, stubborn, and selfish.

My two natures each sought victory. I identified with Paul, remembering the words he spoke in Romans 7 of the inner war. For the moment, my Christ’ nature won, yet often my flesh nature waves its victory flag.

Why is it so difficult to say those two little words? I’m sorry.

We can’t maintain healthy relationships without humility and repentance, but we all struggle to allow Christ to rule in our hearts.  My flesh nature and your flesh nature are never truly dead in this life and frequently resurrect to remind us.

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