Forgive

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“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive
him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Forgive

Recently a retired minister told me how his family still blames him for the death of one of their relatives. All he had done was wired money to her at her request. His action came from his love for her. But her boyfriend who was drug addicted murdered her for that money. Clearly the minister had not done anything wrong, but years later he struggles with guilt, which has been reinforced, if not caused, by his family members blaming him. Now I feel certain that he has counseled people during his pastoral career about such undeserved guilt, but he has suffered for many years. Hopefully my discussion with him eased his conscience and reminded him that God forgives us when we repent and turn from our sin. In his case, he didn’t need forgiveness, except from himself.

 

United

3CB54149-B2C0-49D0-817C-D98DD95B30C9“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

United
As a human society, we have common healthy goals that can be obtained more readily when we are united. Watching our government bicker like immature children disgusts most of us; because, deep down, we know we have more similarities than differences. Still the enemy tries to divide us by focusing us on those areas that have fierce opposition. As the 1970 song proclaims, “United We Stand”! We must learn to love and forgive and be united in that respect. Our future depends on it.

Salvation

3C09FFAE-E99C-4181-9C27-41C43B8DDDAB“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭2:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Salvation

Our Sunday school lesson raised the question of “can we regain salvation after rejecting it?” Certainly we all continue to sin and fall short of being anywhere near righteous with our own works; but, what if we denounce God and turn away from Him? Can we turn back and still have salvation?? Our culture tends to push us to tolerate, then accept, and finally embrace all sorts of sinful behavior, but what are the eternal consequences?
Apparently this is one of the BIG theological questions. Some believe there is always hope, even in this situation. Clearly it has given me reason to pause and ponder. I realize I sin even though I know better—clearly not ideal, but is that forgivable? Only God knows and we can only hope and pray.

Forgiveness

2E90A8C2-1CFD-4F34-A828-B24CE831DE30“Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:32-35‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an intentional, voluntary process when a victim changes the negative feelings and attitude regarding the offender. When someone has been mean to me and hurt me, there is the natural tendency to want to get revenge and make them feel the same pain and suffering. But, despite what feels justifiable, forgiving is the truly right thing to do and it will give ultimate freedom from the offender. Furthermore, God wants us to forgive others as He forgives us for our transgressions. Personally, I forgive quickly and easily, but I have a difficult time forgetting, which leaves some lingering negative feelings. When no apology has been offered, the forgiving is especially hard for me. Truly the offender does not deserve forgiveness, but neither do I.

End of Time

D420BA52-7C5D-40F8-BF72-72D50E830863“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

End of Time

In my teenage years, I had this recurrent dream of the end of time. It vividly captured the moment of Christ’s return as I collapsed to my knees.  My dream accurately depicted Biblical verses that I had yet to read and understand, but somehow subconsciously I knew.  Last night, the above Bible verses seemed to beckon me from someone’s Facebook page to pause and take notice.  This morning, some crazed man kept tailgating me on the highway and flashing his bright lights and passing while using obscene gestures and then slowing down in front of me, and repeating the cycle until I called 911 and got state trooper assistance.  I cannot help but think that the end of time is upon us, as I consider how our society has embraced so much evil.

Paradise

4F79B00D-1F5B-4AD7-B60B-CBDD25976BB6“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.””
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Paradise
As humans, some days will be dark and dreary.  I know that as I pass through the years, there are many great times, but naturally there are bad times as well. We have to take them as they come and know that we are being prepared for Paradise, where every moment is perfectly Divine. When you are assured of this destiny, bad times are more tolerable.