07 July 2011

From the evangelist desk.
July 2011 edition of the Parish magazine.
(Inspiration for this letter has been taken from Purpose Driven Connection, Daily Hope. 11th June 2011. Tom Holladay).

Can you forgive when you feel rejected? Choose to forgive today and enjoy God’s Blessings.

“You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
It’s very hard to feel rejected, especially when it comes from someone close to you, someone that you love deeply. It is like a bolt from the sky, unexpected and sometimes devastating. But it doesn’t matter who has made you feel this way the Bible says that you need to forgive that person, because God forgave you.
The key word to focus on in the passage written above is ‘Remember’. When we remember what the Lord did for us, then we are given the gift of being able to forgive others.
Tracey sometimes gets annoyed with me because I do not appear to wind up. People do not on the face of it appear to rile me, and I never seek to retaliate when someone rejects or causes me hurt. Believe me I may not show things on what we call face value, but I will spend a lot of time in prayer asking the Lord to guide me and build me again.
If you hold on to the hurt, it will only end up twisting you. When you cannot forgive others, it creates bitterness and anger in you. It will eat you up on the inside and drain you of your energy, leaving you tired all the time. I say to Tracey, if I feel bitter towards another person who has hurt me, who is it affecting? Not them because they have said what has been said, or done what has been done and moved on. So all that I am affecting is me, and those around me.
Every time we start to feel bitterness towards someone, we must try to remember Jesus on the cross, how he loved us enough to give his life so that our sins can be forgiven. He was rejected and insulted as he hung there, but he looked at everyone and prayed, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NIV).
In complete meekness and humility, Jesus gave his life because he loves us. He wasn’t thinking of himself; he was thinking of us. Peter says, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV).
The definition of forgiveness is found in two words in that verse: “let God.” You let God set things right.
Forgetting everything that happened, is about putting the situation in God’s hands instead of seeking revenge or holding a grudge. It is trusting that the Lord will make us stronger and teach us to have wisdom to forgive and be forgiven.
As my dear grandmother used to say, “Two wrongs do not make a right”. When I was younger I used to think, ‘yer, right!’. But now I understand what is meant by the sentence, I think that what is meant is that if someone does me wrong, I may wish to, and in fact will do them wrong back. This does not make the situation right because I have been avenged, where one misdeed cancels out the other. What makes the right is one wrong, forgiveness for the wrong and moving on.
Life is short in the grand scheme of things, so if we can forgive and move on we can enjoy a life of positive attributes, instead of facing a life of bitterness.
Yours in Christ.
© Rick Hayes, July 2011