Obstacles to Forgiveness

October 24, 2017

Matthew 18:21-35

Forgiveness can be defined as letting go of both resentment and the right to return hurt. On the other hand, unforgiveness demands that the guilty one pay for the wrong he or she did.

According to these definitions, unforgiveness looks very much like justice, and forgiveness seems inequitable. That’s why we have such a hard time with it. Forgiveness goes against our natural sense of fair play. Yet God calls us to forgive those who don’t deserve it!

To avoid offering a pardon, we dwell on the wrongdoing until our desire to retaliate seems totally justified. Convinced of our right to be angry, we demand repayment, thinking, Releasing a person from deserved punishment is unfair!

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

When we accepted the Lord’s forgiveness, we gave up all rights to hold anything against anyone else. An unforgiving heart is miserable because it is far from God, who is the source of all peace and joy.

Does the thought or sight of someone arouse harsh feelings within you? Holding onto a grievance will keep you imprisoned in emotional turmoil, but letting go will set you free. Christ has provided the key of forgiveness. Take hold of it, unlock the door, and walk out into the light.

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Know Who We Are

Let us do this for a year reading and responding to this Devontional Journal By Mark Dupre.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and begin to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:3-5)

” This is one of the most profound passage in Scripture in terms of knowing who we are and how self-identity affects serving. Here is Jesus at His highest moment of self-awareness: He knows where He’s come from (heaven); He knows what is going on in His life (His imminent suffering and death); He knows were He is going (heaven, again); and He knows His future position of glory and what He will ultimately posses. No identity crisis here. The  self-awareness He possessed at age twevle and demonstrated at the temple in Jerusalem has now reached a peak. He is fully aware of who He is and what He has.

What does he do with this self-knowledge? Start a business? Fight a great battle? Get revenge on those who oppose Him? No, He serves. He takes the job of the most menial servant in a house- washing feet. And He washes the feet not of earthly kings and rulers, but of those under His authority–in effect, those who should be washing his feet.

What is the result of your knowing who you are? Is it feeling better about yourself?  Or is it greater love for others? Does greater self-awareness bring you closer to others or does it make you pull back and focus more on yourself?

Jesus shows us how true self-awareness expresses itself. It serves. If Jesus is led to serve at the height of His own self-understanding, how much more should we be?

Prayer: Lord, deliver me from a self-awareness that causes me to become more self-centered. Let me find myself in You and hear the call to serve others.”

 

A Godly Heart

Psalms 37:1-8

The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts. But many people take this passage out of context, forgetting that their own mindset plays a vital part in bringing it to fruition. As my mother once said, “Where your mind goes, your feet go, so be careful what you think about.”

What is your responsibility when it comes to claiming promises from God?

Delight Yourself in the Lord (Ps. 37:4). Christians should rejoice in God and desire to walk in obedience. The Lord must have first place in your life before you can claim the promise in this verse.

Commit your way to the Lord (Ps. 37:5). Allow God to change any aspect of your ambition that is not His will. Remember that when He doesn’t answer a prayer as you wished, it is for a reason.

Trust in Him (Ps. 37:5). God is merciful, all-knowing, kind, and generous. You can trust Him with your hopes and dreams.

Rest in Him (Ps. 37:7). Resting in the Lord means trusting Him to answer prayers in His timing or transform your aspirations so they conform to His will.

Wait upon the Lord patiently (Ps. 37:7). Jesus waited three decades before beginning His three-year ministry on earth. According to His example, waiting is one of the key principles of Christian living.

Do your desires align with God’s purpose and plan for your life? He longs to give His followers abundant blessings and fullness of joy. So allow your dreams to be conformed to the Lord’s will, and follow His guidance faithfully. Only when you surrender to Him will you experience God’s best for your life