Forgiveness

  I was sitting quietly, trying desperately to pray about some things that weigh so heavy on my heart today. Old wounds reopened, salt poured in. I so very much want to rage against it all. I don't understand it. I am angry and I am hurt and I so very much want to engage in battle, to rend and tear and strike out, to demean and to belittle, to use all those skills that I was once a master of, to utterly break someone, to steal their manhood and their pride and turn it to dust and ashes. I want to mock, to ridicule.......I want to repay an eye for an eye......or let's be brutally honest here. I want to do the human thing, an eye was taken, nothing less than an eye and an ear and an arm will do in return.

 I hate feeling like this, I hate when that old me rises up. She loves a good fight, she is very good at returning evil for evil. I don't like her at all, and yet I yearn to embrace her today. The battle rages as I try to pray.

  I hear the battle cry in my heart. My cause is righteous, my hurt is real. I want to lash out, strike back, and I bounce like a ping pong ball between outrage and despair. We have come so far, through so much sorrow, it just isn't fair. People can be so awful, so ugly, never understanding the power of their words or just how much damage they can do, and sadly sometimes not even caring. It's not fair. I pray and I pray and I cry......why Lord?

 And as I pray slowly and quietly a song begins to play in my head.

" It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve"

   Oh Lord, I really do not want You to play that song for me today. Please not today.........and it plays on..............and I cry at the words.......

 "It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…"

  I do not know if I can say it Lord. Is thinking about it sufficient for now? Is working through it enough for the moment?

"Forgiveness"

 
"Forgiveness"

   And I remember the words I read just last night, of the servant who owed his lord a vast sum of money. so much money that he could never repay, how that servant kneeled before his lord and begged for time to repay the huge debt.........and the lord forgave him. Stood him right up and said go, you owe me NOTHING. It's all forgiven, its all wiped out, the slate is clean. Every last penny has been accounted for.

  And the man went away. I bet he was dancing! I bet he was leaping and dancing and celebrating! He had been in debt so deep that he would never ever dig out, and in one small moment every single bit of it was forgiven and he was FREE!

 And then he came across a fellow servant who owed him a few bucks. He demanded his payment. It was his right to do so, this man OWED him! "Pay me right now or its off to jail for you!" he said. The man begged for mercy but he would not hear him and sent him away in chains.

 When the lord heard of this he was very upset, had he not forgiven a huge debt, a debt so large that this man would never have been able to pay it, and now here this servant was demanding the life and freedom of a fellow servant for a few bucks? Needless to say the lord did not deal nicely with that servant who refused to forgive his brother.

  I once owed a debt that I could not repay. Were I to do all the good works in the world for all of my moments and all of my days from the very first until the day I die I would not be able to make a dent in the debt I owed. I once owed a debt that I could NEVER repay. I was doomed to die, the chain of that debt wrapped around my soul, a chain I could not escape from, a chain I rightly deserved for my failure to pay the great debt I owed.............and He forgave it, He paid it all, every last piece of it, He paid the debt for my sins, struck the chains that held me in bondage and made me free.

 And here I sit with a desire in my heart to see another bound in chains and beaten and imprisoned until he has paid every last piece of the hurt he has inflicted............how dare I. I have not the right. Instead I should be shouting out LORD, LORD, SET HIM FREE TOO! Set us all free!

  The song played on........and the tears continued to fall as I listened to it......


 " It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’'

  Oh Lord my pride, my foolish pride, and the mad inside, it is so very difficult, surely Lord You understand why it is so difficult? You know the price, you know what this cost, what it might cost...... Lord I want to be the jury and the judge though it is not my right to be, it just seems so unfair, it seems so wrong, surely I have a right to hold a grudge?

 And the song plays on.......

"Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness"

" Show me how to love the unlovable"    Oh Lord please show me!
"Show me how to reach the unreachable"  Oh Lord please show me!
"Help me now to do the impossible"   Oh Lord help me!

 And the song plays on............and I am conflicted between my righteous outrage, my hurt, my sorrow, my pain........and the still small voice that asks me to define who is broken........I am broken........he is broken.......we are all broken.....

 And the song plays on...........................................................................

 "Forgiveness, Forgiveness"

" Help me now to do the impossible"  It's not possible, you just do not understand the magnitude of what has happened, nor the cost we will pay because of it? Were you to know perhaps you would weep along with me.......or worse perhaps you would not care at all what you have done.......it isn't possible.......it isn't possible.......with man it isn't possible, but with God all things are possible.

And the song plays on.....................................................


 "Forgiveness"

It’ll clear the bitterness away.............................Oh Lord I want it gone!
It can even set a prisoner free...........................Oh Lord I want to be free, but I want the ones I love to be free too!
There is no end to what it’s power can do..........I believe Lord, help my unbelief!
So, let it go and be amazed...............................I want to Lord, help me, help me! I let it go and I snatch it back again! Lord help me!
By what you see through eyes of grace.............Oh Lord Your grace, I so need Your grace, I am weak and injured, I am so very tired and weary. Lord help me to see with eyes of grace instead of eyes of anger and wounded pain.


 The prisoner that it really frees is you................Lord, might I be so bold as to ask for my freedom, the freedom of the ones I love who were also hurt.........and the freedom of the one who did the hurting?

 And the song plays on..........................................

 "Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness"

I want to finally set it free.................Lord I do want to set it free, Lord I want to see You make this into something beautiful!
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees...........Lord show me Your mercy!
Help me now to give what You gave to me.................Lord help me to give what You gave to me!
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

    Lord help me, I know that You bring beauty from ashes, I know that You take the broken and the awful and You make them into beauty. I know You redeem the hard things and You bring good from the bad things we endure. Lord I believe.

 Lord bring Your mercy.

If You Are The Only Jesus They See, And They Were Asked to Describe Jesus, How Would They Describe Him?

It is funny how God teaches us things, how numerous little things all come together across an expanse of time, all pointing at the same lesson, some subtle, some not so subtle. At some point, your eyes open wide and you get it…..and you exclaim.

 God has been doing that of late with me, many little lessons, many little road signs, all pointing to this one great truth….We are Jesus to the world. We are indeed the Fifth Gospel.

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Us

  I know a certain someone, whom I will not name here. His heart is big; it is very possible that his heart is the truest and the biggest of his entire family.

 He does not walk with Jesus, he does not know Jesus, or should I say that he does not know the real Jesus. He has seen what he thinks is Jesus, in many members of his family. Seen the stares, seen the disdaining looks, the turned up eyebrows. Heard the words of this Jesus in the mutterings, the things he hears from others who tell him that this Jesus does not want them to hang around with him, would prefer that they stay away.  He understands that He is outside the grace and mercy of this Jesus that he sees in them. His mistakes are too great for this Jesus to forgive. He should have gone to college, he should have gotten a real job, he should have….he should have…….he simply should not be who he is, nor should he have the things he has.

 He feels judged, condemned, misunderstood, unwelcome, unloved……by the Jesus he sees in their eyes.

 It breaks my heart to see this, to know that that instead of love and grace, instead of mercy and forgiveness, he sees judgment, he sees condemnation.  My heart breaks and I pray that it might be possible that God would allow him to see Jesus in me, I do not get to see him much, do not get to speak to him of these things he has seen, I only know second hand how he feels, what he has seen, how he must take in this false gospel of us.

The person of whom I speak has made mistakes in this life, has turned to things that were outside the law, but at the same time he has accepted full responsibility for every choice, another thing that makes him different from his critics. A lot of things have gone wrong, but he keeps pushing on, doing the best he can with the hand life has dealt him, a hand that he acknowledges responsibility for. Soon he will be moving on to a new life, where he will try and rebuild things, try to make things work. He will take the Jesus that he sees with him. Oh Lord let him see the real You, let him take the real You with him when he goes! Lord be merciful to him, go before him, pour out Your great grace and mercy upon him…..as You poured it out upon them…upon us. Forgive Your people for their lack of grace, and redeem that which is lost, that which was done wrong, that which showed to this lost one the wrong Jesus, the wrong gospel.

  We are a living gospel. We are His hands, His feet, and His voice. They watch us, so much more closely than you think. They take in each and every thing you do, each and every thing you say, they know that you profess Christ, and they watch you, to see if you are different, to see if you live what you say you believe. Think carefully.   Have you forgotten where you once were? Who you once were? Have you forgotten that there, but for the grace of God, go you?

 We are to live in grace, we are to show forth grace, we are to love and accept and forgive. It is not given us to change people with our looks, our condemnation nor our judgments, it is given us to love and preach the gospel. We can preach it with words, but we should also preach it with our very lives.

 I too have shown forth the wrong Jesus. I too have judged others, and failed to give grace, failed to extend acceptance and love. We all do. But we ought not.

 God forgive us for our failures, and redeem them. May our hearts shine forth Your great grace and mercy. I pray today, that You would remind me before every my mouth opens, before ever my gaze looks into another's eyes of this one question Lord....may it reverberate in my mind throughout my day......"If I am the only Jesus they see, and they are asked to describe Jesus, how will they describe Him?"


“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

“Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”

“…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

 

The Fifth Gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John...You

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