TODAY'S WORD FOR Thursday, November 08, 2018:
The act of granting pardon for an offense; to cancel or remit a debt or an obligation.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is His love for those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
For those who love God and have come to Him for forgiveness of sins, God forgives so completely that He separates us from it. The Psalmist says that God has removed our sins as far from us as the “east is from the west.” God’s forgiveness means not only that He takes our sins away but that He also forgets them. He will never punish us for them, even though we deserve it. In fact He will never dredge them up again.
How different God’s forgiveness is from our forgiveness. We will say that we forgive others, but we just do not forget what they have done. We seem to love to bring up what was done in the past, especially when it serves our purpose. This usually happens the first time we have a new disagreement with the offending person.
All those who have accepted God’s forgiveness for the sins that they have committed through the shed blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, should be changed people. Christians must put their faith into action so that they are more like Christ. A Christian’s conduct should validate Jesus’ transforming power in his or her life.
The apostle Paul understood the challenges Christian’s face in living a life that is Christ-like. He speaks to this challenge of forgiveness in Colossians 3:13. He tells us, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Paul knew that God’s forgiveness is perfect and complete because he experienced it. There is no better example than God’s loving forgiveness that He has given us. If we consider how much He has forgiven us how can we not forgive the little wrongs others do to us.
We want others to forgive us when we ask but we find it difficult, more often than not, to forgive others. When we find we just do not want to forgive someone, we best heed Jesus’ warning about forgiveness in Matthew 6:14-15. Jesus said: “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”.
When we are unwilling to forgive others, it means we are putting ourselves in God’s place to decide who should be forgiven and who should not. It reveals that we do not understand the real meaning of forgiveness.
It is one thing to forgive our friends, but forgiving our enemies takes super human strength that only God can give. The story is told that during the Revolutionary war a pastor named John Miller learned that one of his greatest enemies was going to be hanged for his many crimes. Upon hearing this, the pastor walked about 60 miles to ask General George Washington to intercede for this man’s life. The General responded and said that he was sorry but he could not pardon his “friend.” The pastor responded by saying that the man was not his friend, but his worst enemy. Seeing the preacher’s forgiveness attitude toward his staunchest enemy, General Washington signed the pardon.
Then the pastor took the signed pardon and walked another 15 miles to the execution site of his enemy. He arrived just as the condemned man was trudging toward the scaffold to be executed. The pardon arrived just in time to save his life. What forgiveness! Yet Christ did much more for us. The scriptures tell us in Romans 5:8 that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Forgiveness must start in our home. Unwillingness to forgive members of one’s family will almost always fracture families beyond repair. We must learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Not only must we be willing to forgive we must be willing to forget.
Learning to forgive begins by first asking God’s forgiveness for our sins. We must teach our children about God’s forgiveness and lovingly encourage them to be forgiving. Being forgiving as a parent is the best example we can give our children just as God’s forgiving us is our example.
Think of the times when standards are broken or set boundaries are not kept. When this happens sit down and talk quietly but firmly to your children about their wrong doing and disobedience. In addition to talking about the issue involved take time to talk about how it is also disobeying God, and when we disobey Him we need to ask Him to forgive us. You will need to explain what God did to forgive us from our sins and how He expects us to have a forgiving heart. You will soon realize a whole different attitude in your home. It may take several months and multiple incidents but being consistent and loving will soon allow you to break through the barriers that stand between you and your family member. There is power in forgiveness.
When we forgive someone we show what Peter talks about in I Peter 4: 8, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” When we serve God, He wants us to forgive every day and show love to all, even those who mistreat us.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Psalm 23:6.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Help me to be forgiving to others who have wronged me, just as Jesus forgave me. Help me to share with them that they have my forgiveness just as Christ has forgiven me.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution and Ministry Director for World Bible Society, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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