Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

Can People Change To Improve

June 28, 2018

Do you believe people can change?

It’s a simple question with tons of meaning.

Surely if you are a Christian, you should answer, “Yes!”

But how many Christians would answer no? Or, answer no to certain groups or types of people?

Tim Ferriss is a famous author of such books (I recommend) as 4 Hour Workweek, Tools of the Titans, and Tribe of Mentors.

Tim also has a podcast. You can find it on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Stitcher, or my favorite Overcast. In the latest episode, he interviews three men in a maximum security prison. Two are in for gang-related murder and one for armed robbery. Their stories of life in prison, what got them there, and how they have changed for the better are moving and encouraging. I urge you to listen even though it is more than an hour.

I believe that people can, and do, change.

God loves each and every one of us humans no matter where we were born or what we look like or what our disability is. Usually we just need the right mentor at the right time.

Give Us The Capacity For Extending Grace

June 16, 2017

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Not every person is emotionally healthy.

Not every person is responsible.

People do and say thoughtless, hurtful, things  all the time. Sometimes directly to us. Sometimes we just read about it. Sometimes the incident is so vivid that we live it vicariously.

Can we extend grace?

God extended grace to us. We did not deserve it. We have it. Dangling right there before us.  Only to be acknowledged.

Can we also as disciples of Jesus, as one of those who seek to be like our master, can we also extend grace?

It is hard.

It requires humility.

It requires being firmly in the spirit.

Can we extend grace?

To those who hurt us.

To those with whom we disagree.

To those who are different from us.

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.