Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shepastor: “Forgiveness is Counterintuitive, But Do it Anyway”

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 21 NRSV

When we’ve been hurt, “burned,” mistreated, unappreciated etc., our humanness cries out for justice and in some instances vengeance. But as members of the body of Christ, we are called to a higher response. Jesus’ unusual example of unconditional love provokes us to rethink how we view others. Jesus taught us to bless those who curse us, bless and curse not (Matthew 5: 43-48). Jesus also showed us the power of forgiveness when he declared, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). When we dare to love, to serve, to give, to “lay down our lives” in the face of insensitivity and mean-spiritedness, we show the overcoming power of Christ within.

When we resist our flesh’s cry to get back at those who hurt us, and choose rather to reflect Christ, we are empowered in a new and fresh way. When trust that the Lord knows all, sees all and will in time “set things right,” it frees us to obey His Word and determine to overcome evil with good. This does not mean that we become doormats or allow ourselves to be abused. It simply means that we choose the more excellent way. It means that we continue to give our highest and best to the glory of God. It means that we refuse to behave in ways that are not in line with our new nature in Christ. It means that we choose to forgive and not to hold onto bitterness, anger and resentment.

In the article, “Five Reasons to Bless Those Who Curse You,” author Michael Brown shares powerful insights about forgiveness…

Here are five reasons why we should bless those who curse us.

1. This is the way of a Jesus revolutionary, emulating the example of our Father. The Sermon on the Mount is a counterculture, kingdom manifesto where Jesus calls us to live by different principles than the world and religious establishment) live by. And in the Sermon on the Mount, he gave this explicit command: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:43-44).

When we do this, we are emulating God himself, who “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt 5:45). This is part of our calling to “be perfect” as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48).

To read the other 4 reasons, visit the link below…

Yes, forgiveness is counterintuitive, but we have been changed. As Paul declared, “it is no longer I, but the Christ that lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). That’s why Jesus declared, “They will know that you are Christians by your love” (John 13:35). We do things differently. May the treasure that is housed in our earthen vessels shine forth and glorify God and make our big brother Jesus rejoice!

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Until next Wednesday
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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