It’s Friday…but Sunday’s Coming

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Where I live, Spring is in full bloom. I always feel excited when the weather becomes warmer, the birds begin to sing, and the grass becomes green again. There is something special about this time of year. Spring brings hope for renewal, after the long, cold winter.

Thinking about the difference in Winter and Spring brings the miracle of Easter to mind. Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, sentenced to death by mere humans. Stop for a minute and think about that. Jesus, the precious Son of Man, was sentenced to die by Jewish and Roman authorities. After they crucified Jesus, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him (Luke 23:34-35). The soldiers mocked him (Luke 23:36).  I can only imagine how they celebrated.

It was about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he said this, he breathed his last breath. (Luke 23:44-46). Jesus’ body was taken down, wrapped in linen cloth and placed in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had been laid. While death might be compared to Winter, it wasn’t that way for Jesus. His resurrection, His Spring, was already planned.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning, stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words (Luke 24:1-8).

Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. Jesus took our place, and died for our sins on the cross. His body was broken and his blood was shed so that we can be forgiven for our sins and receive an eternal life in Heaven. John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. To receive this forgiveness and eternal life, we have to ask forgiveness of our sins and strive to obey him. Jesus tells us in John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to light.”

What good news!

It’s Friday…but Sunday’s coming!

Easter,Jesus,Christian,Joy

I Forgive You

cropped-summer-sun-yellow-photography5.jpg    I Forgive You. These are just three words, but they can be the hardest for us to say. I think it could be our human nature interfering again. As long as we stay mad or hurt, we still have the option of seeking revenge, or getting even. It’s like we tuck that anger into a coat pocket and carry it around, just waiting for the right time to bring it out.

I have known people who live their life just waiting to get revenge. It’s like it is a game to them. They believe in the idiom “what goes around, comes around”. They are waiting for that person to get what they deserve. Forgive them? No way.

The Bible is clear that we shouldn’t seek revenge. Revenge isn’t ours, it belongs to God. Matthew 5:38-42 tells us we shouldn’t seek an ‘eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth’. If someone slaps us on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Romans 12:18-19  says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord”. God’s wrath will be much, much greater than any revenge we could inflict on someone.

Our Father forgives us when we sin. When we refuse to forgive others, we deny that we are sinners, in need of God’s forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 tells us “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”. Think about that for a minute. Our Father will not forgive our sins, if we don’t forgive others.

In the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor in Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times”. Seventy-seven times. Many of us can’t forgive someone once, much less seventy-seven.

When our Savior was being hung on a cross to die for our sins,  Jesus asked forgiveness for his murderers. In Luke 23:34,  Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. Jesus asked forgiveness for his murderers, and we can’t forgive someone who cuts us off in traffic.

I recall seeing in the news, more than once, family members forgiving a person who murdered their loved one. How in the world can someone do that? It comes from us accepting God’s grace and mercy. When we have repented and accepted His grace and mercy, we are able to give that to others.

Are their people in your life you should forgive? Perhaps a co-worker, who spread gossip about you. Or maybe it is a family member who needs your forgiveness. It seems the ones who hurt us the deepest are the ones we love the deepest. Angry words can tear families apart. A spouse may say something, and the more you think about it, the deeper the hurt becomes.

We are supposed to forgive others, because God tells us we should. However, there is a peace that comes with forgiving someone who has hurt us or sinned against us. We don’t have to worry about getting revenge, God’s going to do that. We just need to forgive them. I’m not saying this will be easy, but when we pray and ask God to help us, anything is possible. We can forgive, with God’s help. We no longer carry around the weight of that anger. That burden is lifted and we are free to move on and leave that hurt behind us. When we say those three words, I Forgive You.