Today I wish to talk about forgiveness. I think this is important as we approach Easter the time of which Jesus Christ died for our Sins. The subject of forgiveness is often not an easy one, there is often a cloud floating over us and it can be a very emotional time. There can be times of great sadness and anger towards others that have done wrong by you and this can often lead to a harsh judgement of them.
With that in mind, I would like to start with a verse from Romans 2:1 which says “So you have no reason, whoever you are, for judging: for in judging another you are judging yourself, for you do the same things. This certainly speaks for itself, but I do not wish to talk about judgement today it is about the forgiveness of others.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as being the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. This can be seen as being intertwined with our own free will which again does not leave us when we are baptised. Through this we can still Sin and we can still stray from the Lord but our faith and love for him helps us stay on our path.
In talking about our own sins and moving forward towards baptism, a quote comes to mind. It comes from Colossians 3:13 and it says bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. I think that this is quite powerful because it shows that the Lord has forgiven us for our past sins and welcomed us into his Kingdom and if he can do that then how can we not forgive others?
Philippians 1:6 also portrays a powerful message through saying “and I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. It is also considered that forgiving is not an easy task for us but we must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart and this is important to the Lord. This can be seen in Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times”
In Luke 6:37 we are given another message about forgiveness “Do not judge, and you will not be judged, Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. forgive and you shall be forgiven. This tells us that we shall continue to be forgiven for our sins as long as we are able to forgive others
The most well known prayer also shares this message of us forgiving others for ourselves to be forgiven. The Lord’s prayer says “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Today I wish to talk about a real world issue that the media seems to cover on a daily basis because it now exists on a massive scale. We are all familiar with the war going on between America and Afghanistan that started with a deadly act over ten years ago.
The sad thing is that people are using the word of God to justify their actions, yet this is not at all what God asked them to do. I would first like to Pray in for the teacher and children in France who were recently killed through an act of terrorism, May God help guide their families through these difficult times and bring eternal rest to those who lost their lives.
It does sadden me to see the brutal actions take the lives of innocent people and this sort of thing is happening on a daily basis. There are often reports of car bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq or the death of soldiers helping to defend our countries. I do believe that the Government has some part to play in this but I want to point out yet again, I am not here to judge that jOB will be done by God, I am just disheartened by the act of cruelty and disOBedience.
As always I want to take a look at what the scriptures say about terrorism as this is the word of God. The first one sums this topic up nicely and comes from Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
There is another quote that calls out to what the Government is doing and shows their wrongdoing. It comes from my favourite book Romans at its at 12:19-21 and it reads Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Some may fight this quote because the word of God is telling us not to retaliate which would make many believe we are letting people get away with their crimes to humanity however again we are not here to judge and we are not here to gain vengeance. There are two small quotes I want to bring in together from Matthew 5:38-39 and Psalms 34:14 and they read “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. whilst psalms says Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
We need to remember that God does love us all and he too would be saddened by the heartless crimes that people commit to but even to them he offers forgiveness “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)