Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Look back but don’t stare…

Look back but don’t stare.

This is an expression I heard a long time ago and the older I get the more I understand it.

Recently I had one of those days where my mind went on a trip down memory lane. I wish that I could say it was a pleasant trip. It wasn’t.  Frank Sinatra used to sing – “Regrets. I’ve made a few. But then again too few to mention.” I can mention more then a few – I should have stayed in college, I should have studied more, I should have saved more money, I should have exercised more self control, I should have done this and not done that.  Regrets, I think, are a way we say sorry to ourselves. When I look back, excuse me, when I stare back at the road I traveled I don’t want to say “Sorry” to me – I want to punch myself.

But I don’t.

The reason that I don’t punch myself is that, well, it wouldn’t change anything and more importantly,  I have been forgiven by God for my past. If God has forgiven me than who am I to not forgive myself? It is hard though. The affects of poor judgement and bad behavior can be irreversible. Life does go on. Life will be different but it does go on.

Seize the Day Pana

Moving on can be tough. The people around us may never forget the harm we have done and may even remind us of just how far we fell. We fell. But we got up. Isn’t that what really matters?

The Word says –

Rejoice not against me, oh my enemies, for when I fall I shall arise. When i sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me.     Micah 7:8  KJV

When I fall I shall arise. I will not stay down. I will not beat myself up. I will not stare back in anger and regret. The past is not only the past but it has been forgiven and forgotten and thrown in a sea of forgetfulness never to be brought up to me again. At least not by God. One of the names of the devil is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10 KJV). He will remind us and use others to remind us.

Another old expression suitable for this topic is – “The next time the devil reminds you of your past just remind him of his future!”

I started this post by telling you how I spent a sad day staring regretfully back at my past. So I am not trying to over simplify putting the past behind us. My goal was, however, to remind myself and those of you that this may apply to, that we have every good reason to stand tall with our heads up as we walk confidently into our tomorrows. If Jesus is our Lord – We are children of the King. Forgiven. Loved. Saved. A new creation. Heaven-bound. No matter what was it’s what will be that’s important.

Thanks for letting me share that even if I was the only one that needed to hear it.

Be Blessed, Al

Similar post on forgiveness – But If You Don’t Forgive

Why do you call me good?!?!?

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?

No one is good but One, that is, God.

Mark 10:18 NKJV

Do you consider yourself to be a “good” person? Do you do the right thing? Follow the rules? Treat others like you would like to be treated?

Do you believe in the Ten Commandments? If so, do you keep them? Would you say that you do a better job of being good than Jesus?

Of course you don’t think that you are “good-er” then Jesus especially considering the verse quoted at the start of this post. But, let’s be honest here,  if only for a moment – You know that you aren’t better than Jesus but you KNOW you are better than __________! You fill in the blank. There’s someone whose name you would write in there.

It is a shame but true that human nature causes us to compare ourselves against one another.  The way others dress, speak, park there car, care for their children and on and on all comes into our focus and is accepted or criticized based on our own standard of right and wrong. I may not be the best Christian but at least I never did __________ like he/she did. Again, you can fill in the blank.

The only problem with this aspect of human nature is  that it goes contrary to Gods Word and Jesus’ teaching. Sure, you never killed or raped anyone like so-and-so but Jesus clearly said that if you harbor hatred or lust in your heart – YOU HAVE DONE SO. But, of course, you know that you aren’t guilty of doing those things because you can clearly see those who do and you look nothing like them.

The comparisons continue. Even comparing what’s forgivable and what is not. We have our own list of what is forgivable and what is not. You can disrespect me but don’t you dare say anything about my kids! You can have different beliefs than I but don’t put my beliefs down. You can …….. the list is endless but you get my point. But in the final analyses we have no legs to stand on here.

In Gods eyes the murders, perverts, liars are in the same group as cowards and unbelievers and idolaters and they are all on the same bus heading to the lake of fire for all eternity. Don’t even get me started on the Gossip!!

When Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler He corrected the man for calling Him good. So, if Jesus says that He shouldn’t be called good – Who are you to think so highly of yourself? The next time you look down on someone try to remember that Jesus looked down on you – from the Cross where He died for YOUR sins and loved you the whole time.

Judge not that you be not judged.

Forgive or don’t be forgiven!

Love because He first Loved us!

ps – I know this isn’t the usual “feel-good” post but I felt lead to write it and hear it. Be Blessed, Al

the first commandment with a promise

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6: 1-3 NKJV

That it may go well with you and you may live long.

The Living Bible translates this scripture like this –

This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise.  And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.

Whatever translation you choose to read the idea still resounds. God will reward you for honoring your parents.

See also Exodus 20:12  and Deuteronomy 5:16 NKJV

On this Mothers’ Day as we salute our Moms  and celebrate their devotion in raising us through the years we need to remember that not all Moms are feeling loved and appreciated today. Sadly many Moms (and Dads too) are abandoned or ashamed by their children.  Is it any wonder that prisons and morgue are filling up as our society shows less respect for parents and more concern for what matters only to me.

That it may go well with you and you may live long

Fortunately, God is the God of U-Turns. If  we think that we have been less than “honorable” towards our parents we can repent and turn towards God as we change our ways. Even if our parents have passed away we can still ask God to forgive us of being rebellious and disobedient children. Even if they were less than perfect parents, we can be honorable towards them. God does not tell us to honor our father and mother if they are good and perfect parents. The responsibility is on us to honor our parents. How good a job they do with the children they were given is between them and God. So, if they were poor parents or even abusive derelict parents, we should forgive them.

That it may go well with you and you may live long

It’s a promise from God that He clearly put in writing. No reading between the lines or ambiguity here. Simply put do this and this is what will happen. So, the exact opposite is rationally true. Dont honor your parents and it will not be good for you and you will not live long.

Maybe this should have been a happy funny uplifting post but I don’t tend to plan what I write too far in advance. I write what is on my heart. I speak as a layman – not a clergy. I have to say that this is something that I had to learn and like almost all of my life lessens – I learned the hard way. After years of disrespecting and disobeying my parents and years of speaking critically about their shortcomings I found myself in a bad place. Only by the love of God was I able to learn Gods Word and live a new life.

My parents both died long before I learned what kind of child I should have been but I know that God has forgiven me and I honor them today in how I speak of them to others and by looking back at them with compassion rather then judgement.

Painted Gerber

Finally, I pray that everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day today but if you did not, I want you to know that there is a God in Heaven Who sent His Son, Jesus, to show the greatest measurable amount of love towards YOU! He died so that you don’t have to. He LOVES you and will wash away that hurt you feel because of  a child or a parent who hurt you so long ago.

He will hear you when you call – Honestly, He Will.

Love them like Jesus

One of the things that I never understood, even before coming to Christ, is the way some “Christians” behave. I heard someone say that their Mother wouldn’t speak to a certain relative “because Mom is a good Christian lady and they are not”. But if Jesus is our example of what a Christian should be (and He is), then we have to look at how He handled sinners. We see Jesus being criticized by the religious people of His day – “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors* and sinners?” (Luke 5:30 NIV). Again, we see a Pharisee who is hosting dinner with Jesus in his house when a woman enters and washes Jesus’s feet with tears and dries them with her hair – “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner**” (Luke 7:39 NIV). We also see our Lord eating with lepers who were unclean and therefor not to be approached or touched.

    Finally, we see a woman who sinned, brought before Jesus to be condemned. “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?”(John 8:4-5 HCSB) Jesus knew perfectly well what the Law of Moses said about such things and He knew that it said “Both” people involved were to be stoned to death for this sin (see Lev 20:10). The Lords answer to this test is commonly known today – He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7 KJV).  Knowing all this, my question is – When did Jesus change? When did it become acceptable for those of us who call Jesus Lord to look down our noses at the very people Jesus showed such love and compassion to?

Whiter than snow

The answer to that question is – Never! It is not acceptable neither do we see Jesus exemplifying such behavior. True, He took issue with those who thought themselves to be religious, pious and pure but even those He spoke with openly and often. But to sinners He was a compassionate friend ever ready to heal their hurts with the Fathers forgiveness and love. Shouldn’t we be ready to do the same? So, whether it’s a homeless person or a drug addict on the street. Or a successful businessman ruthlessly making his way up the corporate ladder. Or, the lady next door who sips her wine at play-dates with other Moms. And especially those whom may have been churchgoers but have fallen away from fellowship. They all have one thing in common – they need Jesus! If Jesus doesn’t condemn sinners then who are we to do so?

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” John 3:17 KJV

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13;35 KJV

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 KJV

 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, Heb 10:24 HCSB

*Tax Collectors were grouped together with sinners because they often demanded more money than needed from the public.

** The woman with the box of perfume is speculated to have been a prostitute which would explain the indignation of the “righteous” host.

But, if you don’t forgive…….

Ever hear of families where one person won’t speak to another because of something that happened long ago? I bet that they don’t even remember what started it but they are sure that – the other one is to blame! Sad but true. Sadder still in the light of what Jesus said when He taught us the Lords’ Prayer – “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV

Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing to do sometimes. Especially if we are sure that we are guiltless or wrongfully harmed by someones thoughtless actions. During a teaching Peter asked Jesus about forgiveness, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21 NKJV Jesus illustrates the need for forgiveness after answering Peter like this – Jesus said to him,

  “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  Matthew 18: 22-35 NKJV

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

70X7

    Unforgiveness hurts us as much as it hurts the object of our angry and all those around us. We are told that we should be angry but sin not Eph 4:26 NKJV. So its not the emotion of anger that’s harmful but rather what we do with the emotion. If we consider the debt we had, that Jesus wiped clean with His blood on the cross, it can not be so hard to forgive someone for whatever they may have done to us. Love keeps no record of wrongs and we are called to love one another. 1 Cor 13:5c HCSB and John 13:14 KJV

     I doubt that any of us knows anyone who we would need to forgive 490 times each day (70×7) but the point here is that we can and should have an inexhaustible wealth of forgiveness towards our fellow man in the light of the forgiveness shown towards us. God bless you as you let the light of Gods love shine threw you today!