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FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness

“Jesus forgives, I don’t.”  “I will forgive, but I will never forget.”  Forgiveness is this thing that sounds good, is supposed to feel good, but do we truly forgive?  We ask for forgiveness from God, we plead with Jesus to forgive us, but when we are supposed to… do we? 

We treat forgiveness like a commodity, if you do this, I will forgive… or “I’ll never do____ again if you forgive me…”  Do we treat forgiveness from Jesus as a Christ “Credit Card”, “I know Jesus will forgive me, so I can ……”  abusing the debt that Jesus paid for us. 

Forgiveness. 

Ready?  Here we go...

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MONDAY

"As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:12-13

How has the Lord forgiven you?  Does the Lord forgive you, but remind you of it at every family gathering?  Does the Lord forgive you, but “tsk, tsk, tsk” you the next time you make a mistake? 

Does the Lord forgive you, but tells all your friends and family because the Lord can’t believe what you needed forgiveness for this time?  Does the Lord forgive you, but expect something in return?  Does the Lord forgive you, but demands to be paid back in some fashion?

No?  Then why do we forgive that way?  “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also MUST forgive.”

Humans place a “value” on everything.  We even put a price on our forgiveness.  In our brains, we perform a cost benefit analysis, “if they did this, then the forgiveness will cost them that”. 

It’s a scale the only we know, and when we feel violated, the weight of the caused hurt must be remedied by an earned equal or greater valued forgiveness.  In other words, “I’ll forgive you, but you gonna pay for it”.

How does forgiving us benefit God?

Brothers and Sister, there is no ranking of hurts.  Therefore, there is no ranking on forgiveness. 

We are to forgive one another, freely, sincerely, honestly, and completely, with no memory of the transgression. 

That is what we are called to do. That’s how the Lord forgives us, that is how we are to forgive another.

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon
www.faithfirst.me

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TUESDAY

“Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.” – Luke 17:3

This is seems a bit, ummm, confusing.  There is a direct order, “Pay attention to yourselves!”  That seems, a little, selfish, self-centered… things that are not exactly, “Christ-like”.  Is Jesus telling us to be “:conceited”?

Of Course not.  Just having a little fuin.  So what is Jesus saying?  Jesus is telling all of us to “watch out” for everyone, and everybody.  Jesus knows that us humans are going to sin.  What do we do when one does sin?

In relationship with one another, we have a responsibility…. First, we must call out their behavior.  We make them aware that they have committed a sin.  Second, we give them the opportunity to ask for forgiveness.  Lastly, WE MUST FORGIVE THEM!

Going back for a minute, this “Be on your guard” has the potential to be understood in one way; that we are to watch everyone else.  I challenge us to read this understanding that that Jesus often taught, spoke and preached with duality.

Are we to be on the look-out for our Sisters and Brothers an help them see the sins they commit?  Yes.  Why?  Because often we convince ourselves that our sins “aren’t really that bad”, “doesn’t really hurt any one”, etc.  We put on blinders to be comfortable with the sin we do.

I offer that Jesus is subtly reminding us that how others sin, is how WE sin.  We too have blinders on our own acts of sin.  Just as we have to be on guard to see the sins of others, we must be on guard to see the sins of ourselves.

Just as we are to point the sin and offer another to ask for forgiveness, so we must do ourselves.

Then, as with others, WE MUST FORGIVE ourselves.

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon
www.faithfirst.me

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Wednesday

“and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Have you ever thought about life in the time of the Bible?  For a minute, forget about all religion and theology and just read the Bible as a novel, about peoples and cultures and life.  Have you?

I’m not going to be redundant and repeat “as God in Christ has forgiven you”.  We are all getting there to be better at forgiveness.

Today I would like to focus on the word “tenderhearted”.

Our modern life feeds an arrogance that says “we invented everything”.  Let’s be real, no electricity, no plumbing, no power tools, no refrigeration, etc. But this scripture has a clue that they may have been more sophisticated than we give them credit.

“Tenderhearted”.

For my chefs out there, why do we make things “tender”?  We make things “tender” to break them down, agitate them, to become more absorbent, to reconstruct it to become a better version.

Follow this…

The church in Ephesus was out to become “THE CHURCH”.  They were establishing their protocols and procedures for “THE CHURCH”.  In doing so, they abused, rushed to judgment, and were harsh to those who sinned.

Paul (a former truly committed sinner) says to them, be “Tenderhearted”.  Don’t be tough, let Christ “break your heart down”, and make your heart “easier to absorb the agitations”.  Let Christ “reconstruct” you.

To make things tender, does not make it weak, but strong.  When we sin, we need others not to attack us, but be tender with us.  And we are to be “tender” with them.

Even in those ancient days, they knew the power of making things “tender”.  Let our hearts not be hardened by life, by others, let us become tender in our mercy, just “as God in Christ has been tender towards us.”

 Be Blessed, Beloved.

-Rev. Damon
www.faithfirst.me

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Thursday

“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:15

"I'm tired of being the bigger person".  Have you.ever said that?  Thought that?  To have to always forgive , regardless of what they have done, and how badly they hurt us... we have to forgive.

Are you still carrying a trespass from the past?  Do you have to see the one(s) that hurt you on the daily?  What about the appearance of the one who hurt you living an apparent rewarded life?

And we gave to forgive?  That "so-and-so"?

Yep.  

There is a "game" being played here.  Satan wants us to hurt by harboring all the bad that has happened to us, by constantly reminding us of who hurt us, and gifting those who hurt us?  Why?  To cause us so much more hurt to convince to turn away from God.

Short-Game.

God wants us to forgive to lighten our loads and make room for His blessings on earth and make it easier for our soul to ascend to Heaven.

Long-Game.

Let's do what God says, live in His love, play His game, and WIN!

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon
www.faithfirst.me

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FRIDAY

"The scripture says, 'No one who believes in him will be put to shame'.” - Romans 10:11 NRSV

Sisters and Brothers I must confess.  This "forgiveness" thing has been a challenge for me.  The  duality of it has been heavy.  

Forgiving others as God forgives me.  Am I worthy of God's forgiveness?  Me?  On top of the sinner I am, I know I have not forgiven the way I am supposed to all  the time.

And then I feel all guilty and like I am disappointing God, again.

But the scripture says, "If I believe in Him, there is no shame in me".  There is no shame in you.

Humans don't treat us right all the time.  Media is used to make us feel "shame" and "less".  We are conditioned to first believe that something is wrong with us, or different.  And then we enter this hyoer-competitive world.  

Yet, through it all, God forgives.

This is no cliche.  JESUS LOVES YOU!  So much so that he died for you and forgives YOU!  YOU!  No matter the past hurts, the past mistakes, the past failures, the past sins.

YOU ARE FORGIVEN!

Let us start living in our grace.  Let us live in our forgiveness.   Let us live in the love that is Jesus Christ.

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon
www.faithfirst.me

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SATURDAY

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency." - Micah 7:18 NRSV
 
"Remnant".  Simply defined, it is the remaining  small part, a very small and unsued piece of the whole.

God forgivies us because God knows the part of us that sins, that makes mistakes, is a very small piece of the whole of us.

But not only does God forgive us, God DELIGHTS in forgiving us!

In all of our disappointing God, in all the wrong we do, in all of our disobeying, God says that the "wrong" we do is just a small piece of us.  And when we ask with an authentic heart, God delights in forgiving us.

Sisters and Brothers, as God forgives us, we are to forgive each other.  When others wrong us, it is a small part of them.  And when they ask for forgiveness, we too should delight in forgiving them.

God sees us.  God loves us.  And God lokks at the whole of us, not just the remnant.

Thank You GOD!

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon
www.faithfirst.me