Forgiveness is in the Forgiving

Matthew 6:12-15
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness is a subject we have talked about before and while we accept the words of Jesus here in theory, how are we at practical application? When someone really wrongs you, hurts, betrays, cheats or deceives you, how quick are we to release forgiveness. Most all of us go through those times in our lives when we have every justification to really hate someone and not forgive them in the natural way of thinking.
Allow me to use myself as an example here that may not be so different from something you have experienced and quite possibly you have experienced worse. Recently I met a lady and did some work for her. She is a professing believer, her dad she has told me, is a preacher and her mom a missionary. She is a businesswoman running several companies. She hires me last minute to do some work for her the same day and then the next day. Each time she keeps me waiting three or four hours before her and her people are ready to go. Both days we work quite late. Now I have asked for a $500 retainer up front which she has her assistant pay me with a check. Making a long story as short as possible she owes me over $1500 dollars for the work I have done for her. While she has made many promises to pay she hasn’t. What is worse is, I have since found out that a number of other people, including other photographers are owed money they haven’t been paid. What is even worse is the check for the $500 came back after about two weeks with insufficient funds. This is about the time I reached the end of my patience, put in a call to lawyers, and let the lady in a stern and blunt way know that I was ready to take action if she didn’t get this resolved. Her promise was to pay me half in cash the next day and then the other half a few days later. Well, again she didn’t follow through. Do I have every right to be angry and sue her? You bet, in the world I do, but what is God’s way? If I pursue a legal course of action and do all that I can to expose her fraudulent behavior, have I really forgiven her? Here is the practical place where our faith and trust in God and obedience to His Word has to override our natural feelings, emotions, anger and lack of forgiveness. Does she deserve for me to forgive her? Did I deserve for Christ to forgive me? If I harbor that unforgiveness who is the one that is damaged most by it, her or me? The Word says if I don’t forgive others, neither can God forgive me. My personal forgiveness from God is dependent upon my forgiving others who have offended and wronged me.
There are areas where some of you have been deeply wounded and hurt, far more than I was. Perhaps, you may feel it is impossible for you to forgive that person or persons. We often have to leave the judgement and the vengeance to God, that is His and not ours. The key to our emotional and spiritual healing in these times begins with us simply confessing and giving it over to the Lord. Our emotions and feelings may not be there yet, but if we can begin to take the step of faith to release those who have offended us, then we have taken a step toward our own emotional healing and recovery.
Matthew 5 is full of principles that are utterly contrary to natural thinking and reasoning. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
I have shared this today so that in a practical way we all might see that God is wanting us to conform to the higher standard of His Word. These kind of experiences are where the rubber meets the road and we have to live what we say we believe, otherwise how are we any different than those who have offended us?

Blessings,
#kent

Kindness

May 30, 2013

Kindness

Colosians 3:12-13
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

“Kindness”, an obvious word with an obvious application, it is often descriptive of one of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is so obvious and so simple and yet so missing among so many of us. It is simply goodness and favor toward another person. Many families and relationships are missing this little social grace from their words and actions. Even in our every day encounters with strangers and people that we interact with, we fail at this little thing called kindness. Oh yes, we feign kindness through superficial words and platitudes, but is it an issue of our heart? True kindness pities, it empathizes, sympathizes and identifies with another’s need. Kindness puts itself in the place of its neighbor and then responds appropriately according to how it would want to be treated. Kindness isn’t a social mask that we put on to give the illusion of our graciousness; it is something that issues out of the foundation of who we are in Christ. Kindness genuinely cares for another and will not think about going out of its way to minister or help another. Kindness overlooks the opportunity to be right when it is at the expense of another. It compliments the rest of the attributes of the Spirit and it chooses the high road even at its own expense. Kindness is what covers another with grace and favor even when they may not deserve it. Kindness is slow to be offended and it returns good for evil. True kindness is often the brunt of abuse and is commonly taken for granted. Yet, it is the kindness working in us that causes our Father to smile and reminds Him of Himself.
Today and each day of your life, develop the habit of random acts of kindness, not just on the deserving but on the undeserving as well. Practice that kindness on the ones you say you love and yet always rub you the wrong way. While others may not always appreciate it and it may be abused by some, you will never regret the warmth it leaves inside and the smile it puts on the face of God.

Blessings,
kent

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