Tag

forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness is often more difficult than it seems. To have offended someone and not be troubled by the pain it produced in the other person is indeed the sign of a calloused heart and an indifferent attitude: both an abomination to God!

But to acknowledge that we have wronged another person is difficult. For whatever our reason may be, and although we do not admit it, we all seem to think we live a life that is as close to perfect as possible. Our opinions are absolute, and our values are without question, the ones that every person ought to hold.

That, however, defies Scripture and reason. Most of us have a difficult time getting through one day without some conflict about some issue with another person. And, if our opinion or position on the issue does not agree with the other persons, conflict erupts.

Now, conflict is not all bad. Often creativity comes out of conflict and that’s good. If however, we become hardened in our position and refuse to accept the ideas of the other person and use words to hurt and harm them, that is indeed wrong and displeasing to God.

We are all equal in God’s eyes - even when our ideas or positions disagree with another. If we are thoughtless in expressing our differences to the point that we use abusive language to destroy and defeat one of God's children – that’s definitely wrong. End of discussion.

“He who covers over an offense promotes love.” Here we are advised to plead for forgiveness and “cover it up.” Another way of saying it is to “forgive and pray for the other.”

Prayer: Give us tender hearts, Lord. May we spend time today making amends, where necessary for harming others and blessing them in Your Name. Amen.

Scripture For Today: He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

One of the most esteemed and honored paintings in the world is The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. It is a marvel of grace and beauty, peace and calmness.

While da Vinci was in the process of painting it, one of his friends came to visit him. As they were talking, da Vinci became angry with him. As they continued arguing, he completely lost his temper and lashed out at his guest with bitter words.

After the man left his studio, he returned to his canvas to paint the face of Christ. Try as he would, he could not bring himself to continue his work on this part of the painting. His madness made him so miserable that he had to stop what he was doing.

Finally, after putting down his brushes, he searched out the man he had quarreled with to ask for his forgiveness. The man accepted his apology and da Vinci returned to his easel and completed painting the face of our Lord.

Anger is one of our most destructive emotions. It not only reveals a weakness in us but a true lack of our faith in God to solve our problems. When we act in anger, it is because we want to control others, usually to the point of harming them in one way or another. God made all of us different, and when we disagree with another person, it’s not who is right or wrong, but God wanting us to look at what is going on and see if there is something we can learn from one another.

Prayer: Lord, we need to be patient with others whom You love as much as You do each of us. When we disagree, give us the patience to be kind and think carefully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 37:8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper - it only leads to harm.



We rarely stop and count the many benefits that we have because of God’s grace. Perhaps David clearly and carefully listed five of them beginning with what we can say is the entrance to the benefits He has in store for us: His forgiveness.
The word forgiveness here means to “deviate” or to “stray” from the expectations, laws or commandments He established from the beginning of time. When we do so, we become guilty of sin and need His forgiveness for us to have a relationship with Him and enjoy His blessings.
Forgiveness is the beginning, the foundation of our relationship with God. And it is something some of us may need more often than others. The call of God’s Word is first and foremost the call for us to ask for forgiveness and repent of our sins. When we repent and confess our sins, the Gospel promises us that He will cleanse us and forgive us. John wrote that “If we freely admit and confess our sins, He is faithful and just - true to His nature, faithfulness, and promises - and will forgive us of our sins and continuously cleanse us of all of our unrighteousness - everything that separates us from Him.”
If, in our daily lives, we are not experiencing His benefits or blessings, it is because there is some sin in our life that has come between the Lord and us. And if we want His blessings to return to our lives, we must go to Him in prayer and ask for His forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is something we must repeatedly do as we do a daily inventory of our lives.
Prayer: Father, may Your Spirit make us aware of our sins and our need to repent so we may enjoy Your benefits. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2a Bless the Lord, O my soul,
When the first railroad was built in Russia, the Czar wanted train tracks to be laid from Moscow to another city that he enjoyed visiting.
“Where do you want me to lay the tracks?” asked the engineer, unrolling a map before him.
After thinking for a moment, the Czar took a ruler and drew a straight line across the map from Moscow to that particular city and said loudly, “There!”
The Lord has drawn a “straight line.” We find it in His Word. It is a line that begins at our feet, goes through the cross and ends with Him in heaven. But that line is often difficult to follow. Even for King David.
“I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my inequity,” he wrote. Acknowledging this “sin” must have been difficult for him to confess. Hear his cry, “Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me.” He could find no relief from his guilt and God would not give him any peace. “Day and night your hand was heavy on me.”
When we sin and do not repent or ask God for His forgiveness, we can expect – and be thankful for – His “heavy hand on” us. Sometimes we “feel” His hand when we are emotionally unsettled, going through a period of sickness or sensing feelings of alienation. How fortunate we are – for this is God speaking to us, trying to get our attention because He wants us to “confess our sins.” Then He will remove our guilt, restore His peace and renew our relationship with Him.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving us a conscience that forces us to look at the sin in our lives and repent. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
“Are we sinners because we sin or do we sin because we are sinners?” asked the Sunday school teacher. An immediate debate erupted in the class as the members attempted to sort out the issues.
Finally, Jess quoted Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “Seems to me,” he continued, “that if everyone ‘falls short’ we must all be sinners because we all sin. Someone other than Jesus might have slipped through. Certainly, not me.”
In Psalm 32 David uses the words transgress and sin. Transgress means to step across or to go beyond a set boundary. It carries with it the idea of an athlete stepping out of bounds while competing in a contest. The word sin means to miss the mark – like failing a test or not meeting a specific standard.
If we recognize God’s laws as boundaries, we would all have to admit that we have stepped beyond the limits for right living that God set. And where is that person who can say that they have hit the target and meet every standard that God has set for them?
Though David speaks of iniquity, sin and transgression, he emphasizes forgiveness and the fact that our sins can be removed. He writes, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him.” Paul quotes these same words in Romans.
Thank God that Paul explains what we are to do if we want our sins removed: “For by grace you can be saved – your sins removed – through God’s gift!”
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your salvation which is only possible through Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
It was the new pastor’s first opportunity to visit the sixth grade boys’ Sunday school class. He knew the lesson they were about to study was on forgiveness. He looked around the class and recognized Danny from his neighborhood.
“Danny,” he said, looking at him and smiling, “do you think you could forgive a boy if he hit you?”
“Oh, yes Sir,” he said proudly, “I know I could – especially if he was bigger than me.”
It’s interesting to think about whom we are willing to forgive or not forgive. Perhaps we even have a criterion. It seems as though there are some individuals whom we forgive easily and quickly – no matter what they have said or done to us. Then, there are some we do not want to forgive – some we enjoy holding a grudge against – savoring or waiting patiently for that magical moment when we can “get even.”
How unlike Jesus. When He was teaching His disciples to pray He said, “...forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”
Jesus offered no criteria when it comes to forgiving. Forgiving others is the sign of a heart that understands, accepts and appreciates the forgiveness of God. If we are slow or refuse to forgive others, we do not know the true meaning of forgiveness and do not realize all that God has done for us.
Prayer: We know, Father, that when we forgive others we have an understanding of Your forgiveness and mercy. May we forgive others as You have forgiven us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
One of the most esteemed and honored paintings in the world is The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. It is a marvel of grace and beauty, peace and calmness.
While da Vinci was in the process of painting it, one of his friends came to visit him. As they were talking da Vinci became angry with him. As they continued their conversation he completely lost his temper and lashed out at his guest with bitter words.
After the man left his studio he returned to his canvas to paint the face of Christ. Try as he would he could not bring himself to continue his work on this part of the painting. His anger made him so miserable that he had to stop what he was doing.
Finally, after putting down his brushes he searched out the man he had quarreled with to ask for his forgiveness. The man accepted his apology and da Vinci returned to his easel and completed painting the face of our Lord.
Anger is one of our most destructive emotions. It not only reveals a weakness in us but a true lack of our faith in God. When we act in anger it is because we want to control others, usually to the point of harming them in one way or another. God made all of us different and when we disagree with another person it’s not who is right or wrong, but God wanting us to look at ourselves, our anger and the damage it is doing to us.
Prayer: Lord, we need to be patient with others whom You love as much as You do each of us. When we disagree, give us grace to be kind and think carefully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – It leads only to evil.
Young Mark was preparing to say his prayers before going to bed. His mother had been in his room going over his homework with him. As he knelt to pray he said, “Go away, Mom. I want to talk to God.”
“But, can’t I listen?” she asked.
“Well,” he said, “I don’t mind telling God about the wrong things I did today because I know He will forgive me and forget what I did. But you’ll go on yelling at me forever.”
How different is our God! His Word proclaims, “And I will forgive their wrongdoings, and I will never again remember their sins.” One of the final characteristics of the New Covenant is that the blood of Jesus not only cleanses us completely, but that He will remove them from His memory.
That’s probably difficult for many of us to accept. We often harbor in our hearts and minds the wrongs that people do to us. Often we seem to roll them around and seek opportunities to get revenge – or at least get even. Not our God.
We know that His grace is sufficient to save us. But believing that He will never allow our sins to enter His memory should bring us a permanent peace.
Prayer: Help us, our Father, to take You at Your Word, and know that as we confess our sins, You not only forgive them but forget them – forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Recently a young wife, mother and highly recognized and effective school teacher sat across from me and said, “I wish I were dead. I would like to go to sleep and never awaken again – just die. I have disgraced myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my students. Everyone! Life as I knew it is over and I no longer want to be part of it. I’m going to prison and I am afraid.”
What a tragedy. Life as she once knew it is gone forever. In the eyes of many the wrong cannot be righted nor the damage repaired. It is a scar that is permanent and will remain throughout life. But is that a reason to want to die? Not for one who understands the grace of God.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness!” If we want to maintain our relationship with God we must ask for His cleansing and forgiveness whenever we falter and fail. Whenever we ask for His forgiveness, we receive it as well as His guarantee that He will remove every sin. He is a faithful God who honors His Word and will never forsake us. Never!
When God forgives us of our sins, He also removes the guilt and the penalty which are justly ours. But in His grace, we are justified, forgiven and made complete and His penalty removed.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your salvation, knowing that Your love exceeds our guilt and Your mercy allows forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The check-in line at the reservation counter was longer than usual. And it was moving very, very slowly. One of the people in the line was passing the time by watching the people around her. Finally, it was almost her turn. Only one person was in front of her.
But the man in front of her had seven bags to check-in. He became impatient and began to curse the agent because he had to pay an additional charge for all of his luggage. The agent, with a gracious smile, politely said to the man, “Have a nice flight, Sir.”
Impressed, when she presented her ticket to the agent she said, “My, you were so kind to that man who cursed you. He even embarrassed me. Are you always so courteous?”
“Thank you,” he replied, “but I’m really not very nice. You see, he’s going to Miami but his baggage is going to Minneapolis.”
Whenever someone does something to hurt us on purpose, the natural thing we want to do is to seek a way to get revenge. But, revenge is not our responsibility, it is God’s. Paul said, “Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God.”
When we return evil with good and thoughtfulness for thoughtlessness, we are demonstrating God’s love: loving others the way He loves us. God’s grace: let’s pass it on!
Prayer: Save us, Father, from doing harm to others. Let us show Your love and kindness, compassion and care to everyone as You have shown it to us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

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