Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

A Place of Second Chances

May 18, 2017

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in America newspapers love to dredge up stories of past failures and sins of everyone they write about. If someone gets a new position with local visibility, you’re sure to read about the parking ticket they received 15 years ago. And especially worse misdeeds.

But in conversations, do we like to dwell on what others have done wrong in their past?

Do we forget that we all have done things–great and small–that we shouldn’t have? A stream of images just flashed through my consciousness of things I’m not proud of.

Are we willing to let it rest?

As a church fellowship, are we willing to admitĀ people with a past? After all, that would be all of us.

When do we move on? When do we stop bringing up the past and live in the present moment?

We all need something of the Alcoholics Anonymous foundation–I screwed up, I recognize it, I own it, I’m living a new life one day at a time with the support of others.

We need to be the “others” lending support, not reminding everyone of the past.

It’s all part of our spiritual growth.

Forgive The Other Person First

July 25, 2016

My wife had a question. She received a devotional email. It quoted C.S. Lewis. “We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us.” It is strongly worded that way in the Lord’s Prayer, said Lewis.

We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us.

In the first place, she was raised a Baptist. They taught you didn’t memorize prayers. You “prayed from the heart.” So, remembering all the Lord’s Prayer isn’t necessarily easy for her.

My thought was that Lewis was denying the forgiveness of sins that comes along with salvation. That didn’t sound like Lewis.

We decided that Lewis wasn’t talking about that. But he was talking on a practical, day-to-day level about our interaction with other people.

And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.

We looked at the phrase. I said, first off this is a petition. Jesus is telling us we can petition God to forgive all the things we have done wrong.

But, saidĀ  Jesus, first we have already forgiven our debtors. Look at the order of the words. We ask God to forgive us in the same manner in which we have already forgiven those who have wronged us.

Do we forget that part of the equation? Do we just jump in and ask for forgiveness without considering the other part? Is it all about us?

Actually, do we really ask for forgiveness at all?

Psychologists would call this emotional maturity. God would point to spiritual growth.