Meet Jesus!||Feb 22||Feb 23||Feb 24||Feb 25||Feb 26||Feb 27||Feb 28|
|Mar 1||Mar 2||Mar 3||Mar 4||Mar 5||Mar 6||Mar 7|
Experience the Support of a Church!|
|Mar 8||Mar 9||Mar 10||Mar 11||Mar 12||Mar 13||Mar 14|
|Mar 15||Mar 16||Mar 17||Mar 18||Mar 19||Mar 20||Mar 21|
|Mar 22||Mar 23||Mar 24||Mar 25||Mar 26||Mar 27||Mar 28|
Live as His Disciples!|
|Mar 29||Mar 30||Mar 31||Apr 1||Apr 2||Apr 3||Apr 4|
|Apr 5||Apr 6||Apr 7||Apr 8||Apr 9||Apr 10||Apr 11|
March 31, 2009
"If your brother sins against you, go show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over...if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector" (Matthew 18: 15-20).
"I'm sorry." Such a simple sentence can cause us pain as we say it, or angers us as we hear it being uttered by someone else who has hurt us. What's so hard about saying "sorry"? Is it that we're really not repentant? Do we have a problem admitting that we we're wrong? When we're the victim, are we not satisfied by only words and want something more from the perpetrator? In any event, someone is wrong.
This verse says that if your brother sins against you and doesn't repent, go to him and tell him about it. Wow. Being wronged and then being confrontational to boot. That's good family relations! The Bible also tells us to forgive 70 x 7 times. I don't know about you, but I haven't been keeping count on either side of the ledger all these years but know that I've surpassed the 490 on the giving and receiving ends!
The story here is repentance. How many times have you said, "I'm sorry," but really didn't mean it? No show of hands are necessary, we've all done it. We make our children apologize publicly to the person that they've wronged, and as soon as the words are finished and the head bobs, they're off-the-hook! We feel better when the words have been spoken, but is it sincere? Think about it! Is this true repentance? I've been in enough courtrooms to see an unrepentant apology from a defendant to the victim as he's about to get sentenced for his crime against them. Or worse, give no repentance at all. It's all for show! No one leaves with that feel-good "warm and fuzzy" feeling that we so desire.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." How many times did we say this as children when we were being teased and picked on by other children? Words can't hurt? Nonsense! I believe that words can cut deeper than a finely sharpened scalpel. Watch the face of the one being berated. Do they look like they're enjoying it? And this person is supposed to ultimately forgive their tormenter? Yeah, maybe after they've bloodied a nose or two! We thirst for vengeance. We want to "get even."
I've never been arrested, prosecuted or convicted of any crimes under the Illinois or Federal Statutes of The United States. I have been prosecuted, convicted and sentenced under the ultimate "Law," the Ten Commandments which Moses received directly from the Lord Himself. Professionally, I have spent time inside jails and prisons. To this day, the sound of the iron door clanking shut and the key turning the lock still sends shivers down my spine! I deserve my sentence, but the Lord had other ideas. My sentence has been commuted and I've been exonerated thanks to Jesus' death and resurrection. When I confess and repent for my sins, God grants me His Grace. I am forgiven!
As stated above, the other side of the equation is forgiveness. It hurts to say, "I forgive you," after you've been hurt by another. As Christians, we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. I know I've received more forgiveness than I've given out through the years, and I need to grant more than I reap. It's not going to be easy. There are some people out there who I simply don't like! And they're not all clients.
Our teenage children argue daily, and not just with each other. Words are exchanged. Feelings are bruised. Justice is imposed by parents. No one wins. After some time passes, and common sense begins to reign again, an apology is issued, and forgiveness is then given. This isn't rocket science! It's the way of life that my parents and your parents have instilled in us for all of our lives! It's what we attempt to bring into our children's lives, which sometimes they go kicking and screaming! Too bad! In our house, you will apologize if you've hurt someone else with your words, deeds or hands! End of discussion! This is God's Will. (Being repentant and then giving forgiveness that is.)
We are each other's brothers and sisters. We are to hold each other accountable for our actions, whether we like it or not. I've been in probation for 23 years now, and I am responsible for all of those under my charge, to the County of Cook, and to the State of Illinois. I am responsible for my wife and children. I am responsible for my mother, and yes, my brother! I am responsible for me. I am responsible for you.
Life is too short to hold grudges. Forgive and forget. Thatís what our Heavenly Father does with us, because He loves us and forgives us, thanks to Jesus. He also commands that we love one another. Cue the Beatles! 'All you need is love; love...Love is all you need.' Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to forgive those who sin against me, as you forgive me when I sin against You. Give me patience and understanding to forgive, and assist me to show love to those who persecute me. In Jesus' name, amen.