Posts Tagged 'forgiveness'

Second Chances

JESUS SPEAKING

      When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  A third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”  He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” […] and when he had said this he said, “Follow me.” (John 21: verse 15 – 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      On the night that Jesus was arrested, His disciple abandoned him.  As the armed soldiers escorted Jesus to the high priest for questioning, Peter followed at a distance.  When they arrived at their destination, Peter sat down and watched as an angry crowd condemned his master.  They hurled insults at him and spit on him; they blindfolded Jesus and repeatedly struck him in the face.  Upon observing the brutality of the mob, Peter’s heart began to fail; his faith soon gave way to fear.  Three times he was asked by those around him if he was a follower of Jesus Christ; and three times he denied his affiliation.  He eventually ran off, disgraced and ashamed.  After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared to His disciples. They engaged in fellowship and shared a meal together.  Eventually Jesus took Peter aside; refusing to condemn him for his denials.  Instead, He absolved him of his sins and gave him a second chance.  Peter was now being called to serve and care for those who were repenting and receiving salvation.

      In the late 1800’s there lived an ambitious inventor named Thomas Edison.  He is credited with inventing the battery, the phonograph, the telegraph, the movie projector, and many other well-known devices.  One of his greatest inventions was the first industrial light bulb (an item we still use today.)  As the story goes, it took Mr. Edison and an entire team of men, 24 hours to produce the first working prototype.  After many long hours, Edison gave the bulb to a young boy to carry up the stairs to the testing area.  With the fragile device in hand, the nervous assistant cautiously made his ascent; every step was carefully planned and executed. Sadly, despite the child’s best efforts, he somehow shattered the bulb.  In turn, the disappointed team began manufacturing another prototype.  Twenty-four hours later, the new bulb appeared.  Although the young assistant had failed the first time, Edison wisely understood that the boy deserved a second chance.  The youngster didn’t disappoint either; he delivered the bulb to it’s destination intact.

      The world is teaming with people who have failed, in more ways than one; mistakes are a part of life.  However, many human beings can be unforgiving and cruel; but God is merciful.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to forgive others who are truly repentant and deserve a second chance. In so doing, we too will escape the sins of our past. Forgiveness is the pathway to peace, and mercy is a road that leads to genuine fellowship with our eternal Father.

      “Lord Heavenly Father, we have made many mistakes; but You have created in us a new heart.  You have given us a second chance.  May we show that same love toward others; may we forgive completely, and may Your mercy and grace be manifested through us, into the lives of all those we meet.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you!

Confession

JESUS SPEAKS

“Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20: 21 – 23)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples in a room; bestowing upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit (the indwelling of God within their hearts.) Consequently, they were granted great power and authority; including the ability to forgive sins. This practice of confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness, (as well as forgiving the sins of others) is outlined further in James 5: 16; “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Thus there is an established foundation for the doctrine of confession that exists within the Church; which also accompanies the exercise of evangelism.

As the story goes, A former Texas Governor named Pat Neff once visited his state penitentiary, where he spoke to the assembly of convicts. After finishing, he announced that he would remain behind, and that if any man wanted to speak with him, he would gladly listen. Additionally, he proclaimed that he would listen in confidence, and that nothing a man might say would be used against him. When the meeting was over, a large group of men remained; many were serving life sentences. One by one they passed by, pleading for their freedom; insisting that there had been a frame-up, an injustice, or some kind of judicial blunder. Finally one man came up and said, “Mr. Governor, I just wanted to say that I am guilty. I did what they sent me here for. But I believe I have paid for it, and if I were granted the right to go out, I would do everything I could to be a good citizen and prove myself worthy of your mercy.” This of course, was the man whom the Governor pardoned.

Like Governor Neff, those who follow Jesus Christ have the authority to forgive the sins of any genuinely repentant individuals. Through confession and divine mercy, many can be set free from the crushing weight of guilt and shame. Within the Church, most of these disclosures can be facilitated in small group fellowships, or by interacting with the pastors and ministers who preside over our local congregations. Also, as we reach out to others during evangelism, may we use the authority we’ve been given by God to forgive the transgressions of our weary fellows; that they too might experience the joy and purity of salvation.

“Lord Heavenly Father, You alone are the way, the truth, and the life. Help us to avoid any sinful temptations as we spread the gospel message throughout the entire world. May we exercise the authority You have given us to forgive sins and to receive those who are repentant into Your glorious Church. We love you Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Complete Forgiveness

JESUS SPEAKING

    “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Withholding forgiveness from others is dangerous; for the Lord has said, “if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” Jesus uses a ‘seven’ to describe the number of times a disciple is obligated to forgive others. In the Hebrew culture, numbers carried very profound symbolic significance; the number seven represents completion; in turn, the obligation to forgive is limitless, infinite, or complete. Since the fall of creation, until the present day, men and women have fervently sought God’s forgiveness; none whose hearts were sincere have ever been denied (for God is incredibly merciful.) We are also called to be like God; and so we must forgive without exception.
    One day a group of missionaries and local Christians gathered together in New Guinea to share communion and to fellowship. As they sat down, one of the older missionaries noticed another man’s fleeting expression of horror and disgust; which was quickly replaced with an expression of peace. The missionary whispered to his friend, “What was it that troubled you?” He replied, “The man who just came in to share communion, murdered my Father; for a moment I didn’t think that I could handle it. But then I realized that he has been washed and forgiven by the same precious blood.” The men then shared communion together, in love.
     To what extent should we forgive others? Jesus has taught us to forgive without stipulation or condition. We, who have been forgiven so much, have no right to withhold forgiveness from others. Search your heart; if you find hatred discard it; if you discover resentment let it go. Forgive those who have harmed you and bless them and pray for them. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you, and your anger will ‘give way’ to peace, and your bitterness will turn to joy.
    “Lord Heavenly Father, forgive us of our sins. May we be like You; may we sincerely forgive others. If we have refused to forgive anyone, please reveal it to us now. If we harbor anger or resentment of any kind, expose it; fill our hearts with mercy, that we might better serve You, and worthily magnify Your Holy name. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you!


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