Friday, December 12, 2008

Advent Week Two: Peace ~ Day Six

Colossians 3:12-15
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

This Christmas you can give the gift of forgiveness. This is a two-fold gift. God asks you to forgive partly because to hold on to resentment often hurts you more than the person you are angry with. Jesus, who did not sin and was perfect, died for your sins. He suffered a horrible death to prove his love for you and to wash your sins away. So, who are you to be greater than God and not forgive? Will you forgive others? Will you forgive yourself?

If someone has sinned against you, you have a choice to make which holds great power —power to forgive and release the hold that person has on you. If you choose to hold on to the hurt, anger and pain, you allow that person continued control in your life. We do not live separately from each other, and sometimes people will hurt you. Humans are not perfect, they will disappoint you and let you down. It is a fact of life. Decide now how you will handle it when this happens. Decide if you will live in mistrust and anger or live in forgiveness and grace.

Jesus instructed and corrected his disciples. He did not give up on them, nor did he harbor unforgiveness at their sin and foolishness. We can choose to forgive those who hurt us and acknowledge that they, like us, are not perfect. We are to make allowances for each other’s faults, including our own.

Those who live in a state of forgiveness towards their fellow humans live in peace. Have you ever seen someone who is unforgiving living in a peaceful state? It is impossible! And how much more should we forgive each other in the Church? Christ has said the Church is His beloved, so to not forgive those in the Church is to indirectly hold a grudge against God.

Challenge: Forgive those who have hurt you. This can be one of the hardest things you have ever done, but it will also be one of the greatest. God honors those who forgive.

Prayer: Father, please bring peace into my life. Help me to forgive, and help me to take the power of my life back from those who have hurt me. Heal my heart and spirit from pain others have inflicted upon me. And as I forgive, please forgive me for the pain I have given to others. Amen

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