Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finding Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World

It is 11o F, and it is mid-November in Detroit, Michigan! My body isn’t ready for this yet! Ready or not, the cold is coming!

It is the same way with relating to others. They are either “cold or hot”. Like it or not, we cannot chose all our relationships. This means we will need to deal with the matter of forgiveness sooner or later. It was designed that way by God. Perhaps this is a significant part of relating to our Lord in a “hot or cold” way. 

This morning someone asked me, (after a disappointing experience), “How does a person have proof they have forgiven someone?” 

In answering I was reminded of the Lord's Prayer, (Luke 17:1-6), given in response to a similar question, verbalizing a need to pray more effectively, like John the Baptist's disciples had been experiencing. John the Baptist had challenged them to be authentic with their lives.

I simply quoted the Lord's Prayer, emphasizing the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, (or the evil one.)” 

We can tell if we have really forgiven another, by observing where our Heavenly Father leads after we have declared forgiveness with our mouths. He does not tempt, but may lead us into areas that are tempting. 

The prodigal, (Luke 15:17), started the road to forgiveness when he found himself coveting the material wealth his father had accumulated, rather than his father, himself. 

Unfortunately, he did it in covetousness! He eventually forgave completely when he realized that he was operating out of the vacuum and desperation of his own heart, rather than Who had made his father wealthy. When he “came to himself”, and went back home . . he found his father had changed (had he really?), and his brother needed to change as well. (Would he be willing?)

I find it fascinating to realize that the one in the more desperate situation, spiritually, is the very one who is allowed to “get by” with the unheard of, until someone more devoted is challenged with something far less significant.

Spiritual poverty is found among those closest to the Lord - that the rest of the world might believe! (These often include those who are rich in faith. This treasure of Grace is found in old clay pots, 2 Corinthians 4:7!) If Peter had not seen his own failure in the midst of his strategies, and observed Jesus healing the ear of an obedient servant of the High Priest, he would have missed another amazing proof of Who Jesus really was!

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