Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Knowing God - Luke 17:1


Your Name is PEACE
Father God, restore peace to my relationships, helping me be the initiator
of reconciliation as I forgive those who’ve trespassed against me.
Who do you need to forgive? It may be hard, but it will set you free.
Jesus said,
"It is impossible that
no offenses should come."
Luke 17:1
Unforgiveness is arguably the most important issue of the faith. Why? Because it's one of the few things that holds us in bondage ... even though Christ has set us free.
In his Catechism, Martin Luther explores the phrase "forgive us our trespasses" in this way:
[It’s] not that [God] does not forgive sin even without and before our prayer. [H]e gave us the Gospel, in which there is nothing but forgiveness! But the point here is for us to recognize and accept this forgiveness.
        [Why? Because] the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it does not trust and believe God and is [rather] constantly aroused by evil desires ... and so it loses the comfort and confidence of the Gospel.
One of the reasons that we can't believe that God can forgive ... is because we don't forgive others.
One of God's greatest gifts to us is relationships. But we strangle these gifts all the time with unforgiveness. Someone does something wrong -- and often doesn't even know it -- and we take offense. And a piece of a wall is built -- brick by brick. 
We're hurt -- brick. 
They notice a distance and shy away -- brick. 
We take their distance as callousness -- brick. 
Their offense sticks in our craw -- brick.
 Clueless, they're wondering why we're so angry and for a totally different reason, their frustration grows -- brick.
Or how about this: It's a thousand little things over a dozen long years. That's what happens in some marriages.
Now ... that's just two of a thousand scenarios, but suddenly wonderful, life-giving relationships are strained. And the only one smiling is the one with a devilish grin.
You don't need to live in bondage.
You can be the bigger person.
Even though you might not have started the division, be the bigger person. Make today a day of victory and forgiveness. Why not call an old friend from whom you've been separated and say, "Sorry" -- even if it wasn't your fault.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who doesn't want to be
a brick mason
I have found that I am an excellent brick mason - and the one I have the most difficulty forgiving is myself.  I begin to knock down the walls and then start repairing them and rebuilding. Not the right pattern, I know. But the one I find myself repeating. over. and over. and over.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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