Monday, June 6, 2011

LACED WITH GRACE...What's in it for me?

Today you can find me over at the LACED WITH GRACE website. I have shared the following devotion entitiled, "What's in it for me?"...
I have sat in many church services where the preacher has declared that God’s Word instructs us to forgive others. If we are to be Christ-like than we must extend forgiveness to others. This sometimes is easier said than done. All of us have had someone hurt us in our lives, it could be when we were children, or it could have happened just yesterday.

Forgiveness is applicable to ALL people. It isn’t just for the ones we love or the ones that we choose to forgive. Jesus died for ALL, that means that His forgiveness is offered to every man, every woman, every child. It is for all who will receive it. Even the hardest core criminal can receive God’s love and forgiveness. But, we on the other hand, like to view our enemies like a criminal. Sometimes, we like to keep them shackled and feeling ashamed and unworthy of our love, acceptance and mostly our forgiveness.

What’s in it for us if we forgive others?

It is kind of like the pay it forward method. What you do for others will continue on to others. God forgives you. You forgive someone. They forgive someone else, on and on. The pay it forward method.

Mat 6:14-15 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

As much as it may seem difficult to forgive others, I would say that forgiving ourselves is even harder. When we make mistakes, we often walk around beating ourselves up over what we did. We feel horrible and the stress that comes with this many times robs us of happiness, content and even good health. The guilt and remorse of your past mistakes many times brings you back to the altar over and over again. You pray and pray and ask for forgiveness for the same mistake. How many times will it take for us to realize that the first time we asked for forgiveness, God is just and He forgives us. It is not God who holds onto our past, it is us who keeps it wadded up in the clench of our fist.

It doesn’t matter what lies in our past, no matter how big or how small our mistakes, when Jesus died on the cross over 2000 years ago, our sins, our mistakes, our weaknesses and our addictions were also nailed to that cross. God already knew before the foundations of the earth what our mistakes and shortcomings would be. But yet, He still sent His Son so we could have forgiveness and have eternal hope.

Once we repent from of our wrong doings, God forgives us. He doesn’t make us feel guilty. He doesn’t condemn us. He doesn’t hold it over our heads. He doesn’t do that. But often times we do that to ourselves.

REVELATION 12:10 “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’ "

No doubt the enemy likes to keep accusing us over and over for our past mistakes, but sometimes, I think we become our own worst accusers. Not only is it important to forgive others, but we must also learn to forgive ourselves.

What’s in it for us if we do this?
Well besides having freedom, it is just what God would want us to do. He never meant for us to go back and forth from the cross, picking it back up time and time again.

ROMANS 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

To Forgive others and to forgive ourselves, we must leave it with Him. We must let God work it all out.

What’s in it for us if we do this? Complete forgiveness!

Recently I heard R.T. Kendall speak about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice, one that will make you a brand new person. If you are having trouble with forgiving others or even yourself, I recommend R.T.’s books, TOTAL FORGIVENESS and HOW TO FORGIVE OURSELVES – TOTALLY.

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