Day Five: Loving Forgiveness

Matthew 5:43-48 NIV 
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

“Forgiveness does not mean that one ceases to feel the hurt and pain associated with someone’s failing, but it means that one forfeits their right to express their anger, to parade their hurt, and to demand reparation. Forgiveness, as initiated by the wounded party, remains an expression of the divine character and becomes a trait that makes the new covenant community stand out among the cycle of resentment and revenge that typifies human relationships.”(Michael Bird, Colossians and Philemon in New Covenant Commentary Series)

Here is also a quote from Mother Teresa – “If we really want to love we must learn to forgive.
”

In forgiveness, we are walking in the way of God’s love. It is loving in God’s love. May we, as his church, stand out as a people who display God’s love and forgiveness to all around us.

Prayer: Father, may we walk in the way of your love, forgiving one another and displaying the love of Jesus to all those around us whether in our cities or on our campuses. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s close in worship with “Here I Bow” by Bethel Music (click here).

– EK

 

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Day Four: Learning to Forgive

Matthew 6:14-15 NIVFor if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian, was imprisoned, along with her family, for helping many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust.  Here is what she shares about forgiveness after re-uniting with one of her prison guards.

“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses’…and still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling’…and so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’ – For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.” (Corrie ten Boom, “I’m Still Learning to Forgive”)

Prayer: Father, though it may be so hard to forgive at times, I pray “help me!”  Help me to obey your command to forgive that I may know deeper – the forgiveness you have shown me and the intensity of your love.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s continue in dependence on God’s love and grace as we sing “By the Grace of God” by Bethel Music (click here).

– EK

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Day Three: No Record Keeping

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIVLove is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angeredit keeps no record of wrongs Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

“We like to keep the record of wrongs because they become useful weapons for the next argument with your spouse, the next squabble with your sibling, the next clash with your child and a rebuttal toward your parents. Keeping no record of wrong is a choice. It is not an inability to recall but a choice to not recall and use it against the other. This is different than denial of what happened, as you are clear about what had taken place, but a choice to not recall it. If you keep record of wrongs it tends to set in and it becomes lodged in our hearts and then resentment grows. Don’t give in to it and don’t give it a chance to affect your heart. If we do this as a lifestyle then total forgiveness becomes a culture of forgiveness in you and those around you.” (From Pastor Mark’s Message)

Let’s live in this culture of forgiveness that has been given to us through Christ and as we experience it through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you made it all possible for my heart to be made whole and healed through the forgiveness I have received in Christ. By your Spirit, let me choose to keep no record of wrongs, but instead to forgive as you have forgiven me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship with the song “Freedom” by Jesus Culture (click here).

– EK

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Day Two: Forgiveness from the Heart

Let’s read this passage and confession and pray the Lord’s Prayer aloud together.

Colossians 3:12-14 NIVTherefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Q. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
In the fifth petition, (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,) acknowledging, that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for that debt: we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin, accept us in his Beloved; continue his favor and grace to us, pardon our daily failings, and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness; which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we from the heart forgive others their offenses. (Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 194)

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor your holy name.
May your kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
Amen.

Let’s close in worship with “Forever and Amen” by Cody Carnes & Kari Jobe (click here).

– EK

 

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Day One: Totally Forgiven

Ephesians 1:6-8a NIV –  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

We don’t need to go far to see the need for forgiveness or to forgive.  It is real for us in our everyday relationships.  Not one of us can say that we haven’t been hurt by another or have not hurt another.  If anything, as believers in Christ, this leads us back to the good news of the gospel over and over and deeper and deeper.  We first begin with the richness of God’s grace towards us and how we have been forgiven through Christ.  Through the blood of Jesus, we are totally forgiven and redeemed, so, every day, we have every reason to “praise his glorious grace.”

In praise and prayer, let’s declare this psalm to the Lord today:

Psalm 103:1-5, 8-12 NIV
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

We praise you Lord!
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Let’s continue in this praise to our Lord for our total forgiveness in Christ through singing “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman (click here).

– EK

 

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