Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday, September 17-guest post by Pamela

Today's reading from the Chronological OT/NT Reading Plan is Isaiah 17-19; Ephesians 4.

Scripture: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31 & 32 (ESV)

31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.(The Message)

Observation: Forgiveness is commanded but what does that mean?

Application: This verse literally jumped off the page for me today. I've experienced something big in my life as of late that has been the cause of much stress. There has been anger, bitterness, and profane talk throughout the situation and it has caused me to step back from the situation. This retreat has been met with even more bitterness. If we are commanded to forgive, be kind, be tenderhearted, be gentle, and be sensitive what does this really mean? Does it mean I am personally responsible for resolving this tense situation? Does it mean that stepping back is the way to avoid the bitterness and anger? Does forgiveness require you to keep bitter and angry people in your life?

I love the Message's version that includes forgiving "quickly and thoroughly". Can forgiveness come quickly and throughly? What does forgiveness mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Prayer: Lord, You know all things. You know my situation and You know every situation that the people following this blog are in. Lord, Your word gives us direction. Please help us to understand the direction you want us to go and how to apply Your instructions to each situation in our lives. Amen.

Tomorrow's passage: Isaiah 20-22 - Ephesians 5:1-16


LaughingLady said...

I think it means making sure once the bitter and angry people in your life aren't bitter and angry anymore, you treat them as if nothing had ever happened. Which is SO much easier said than done. But that's somewhat of a common factor in all the ways God commands us to live differently from the world.

Still praying... ♥

Miriam said...

Forgiveness is a tough thing. Sometimes you have to resolve to forgive the same person for the same offence more than once. Often we need the help of the Holy Spirit to forgive. I agree with Tammi, as well, that once the issue is past, you leave it there. None of those things are easy. Thankfully, we don't have to do it on our own.
By forgiving, you let go of the hurt and anger, which is even better for you than it is for the other person. Sometimes you have to keep doing it over and over again. You can't stop someone else being angry and bitter. You can only work on it in yourself and pray for them.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Forgiveness definitely does not mean it is up to you to resolve the situation. You are not responsible for anybody else's reaction or decisions. You are only responsible for your own.

Forgiveness on your part is more for your benefit than for theirs anyway. It's to prevent bitterness from settling into your heart. It's to keep your heart tender and open to the Holy Spirit.

Even once forgiveness is given on both sides, it does not necessarily mean that everything goes back to how it was before as though nothing happened, at least not immediately. Depending on the situation of course, but trust almost always needs to be re-earned. But reconciliation should be the goal - IF both parties are truly remorseful which means they will have changed and will no longer act in the manner that caused the rift in the first place (unless the rift was just a misunderstanding). And once that has happened, then the matter needs to be left in the past.

And, obviously, if the other party never repents, reconciliation is simply not possible.