I hope you had a wonderful Easter! What a blessing to be able to meditate, worship and rejoice over what it cost our Savior for our salvation. Our heavenly Father knew we need to be reminded of things often. That’s why we come to the Lord’s table” in remembrance of me”. Easter and the Lenten season only heighten that remembrance exponentially.
As I think of all that Christ did for me, I am reminded of the prayer he taught his disciples to pray. Particularly I’m concentrating on Matthew 6:12 – Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And then in verse 14 and 15 he says: For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. That is a truly convicting.
In fact that statement has always bothered me. I know Christ paid it all on the cross for me. I know there is nothing I can add to His sufficient and effective salvation for me. All I can do is respond in faith and repentance. And who works in my heart so that I am able to respond rightly to Him? God does.
I have been reading a book called Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall. He has a number of helpful insights into forgiveness. He mentioned “Two Things you can take for granted in the Lord’s Prayer: people have hurt us and we need to be forgiven.” He also states, “Totally forgiving another person is an achievable act. It can be done and it is something that you and I must ‘keep doing’”.
Unforgiveness affects our fellowship even though our relationship with Christ is secure. I John 1 talks about our need for confession to restore that fellowship. I certainly don’t want God to have any unforgiveness toward me. Should I have any less compassion and mercy for my fellow man? No, I am commanded to love God above all things and love others as myself.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we do not forgive others as God has forgiven us. We harbor bitterness if we do not forgive. Our intimacy with Christ is broken if we do not forgive. We become prisoners of our own unforgiveness and we need to set the prisoner free. I want to come boldly before His throne, because I know my fellowship with Him is strong and sweet.
I will come back to this topic in my next letter. Suffice it to say I want God to be merciful, gracious and forgiving toward me. It is beyond my comprehension to ask the Father “forgive them, for they know not what they do” on the cross as Jesus did. As I begin to understand the depths of His love – as we just celebrated – I will begin to understand how much I need forgiveness. Will you join me in this quest to practice forgiveness? It is a journey and we need to help each other along the way.
Thank you for your consistent prayer for us. We are following men up from our March banquet for involvement in small groups and mentoring relationships. New groups have been forming and God is blessing our efforts.
Thank you for laboring with us. More than ever I sense that we must be in this battle together. We have to have each other’s back. Every day we must practice forgiveness of others and even ourselves. I am so grateful God has forgiven me.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
In our Lord,