The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

02/09/2010

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Meaningful Forgiveness


"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mk. 11:25-26).

It is obvious from God's Word that we are to be a forgiving people. In response to Peter's question about how many times he should forgive sins against him, ( 7 was the number in the Old Law) Jesus said, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven" (Matt. 18:21-22). Jesus wasn't setting 490 as the number but rather times without number.

So...How do we reach this state of forgiveness that we ought to be in? It is all about commitment. It is up to us to realize the real importance and value of forgiveness. When we have made to choice to forgive, we stop being the victim. The power that our offender had on our lives is no longer there, and we are not defined by how we've been hurt. It is now time for compassion and understanding. Like all things of real worth, forgiveness can at time be challenging. One of the most often asked questions is whether or not we can forgive if the offender has not asked for it. In our religious world we call this repentance. At this time it may be good to reflect on when we hurt someone and were forgiven. It is a good time to think of our Savior on the cross saying, "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Lk. 23:34). I don't remember anyone asking for that...I do remember the sneering and the mocking. I don't remember reading about a sorrowful people asking to be forgiven.

When forgiveness is hard it is a good time to remember Stephen in the Book of Acts. As he was being stoned to death by an un-repentant people, he cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (7:60). I don't read about anyone trying to solicit these words from him. Even through his death, he became the better person. A trait that hopefully all of us strive for is that of integrity. In forgiving, even when it is not requested, we become people of integrity. In that integrity we ought to find a reassuring sense of peace and well-being. This feeling emanates from the spirit of forgiveness that we have made a part of our being through the power of the Lord.

Have a great day....It would be a terrific day for a RAK... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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