Pastor’s Ponderings: Forgive with God’s Forgiveness

Posted by on May 8, 2021 in Pastors Ponderings | 0 comments

Imagine that someone murdered your sister 30 years ago.  There was a trial, but the murderer was found not guilty. Your sister is gone, but the murderer has moved on to live a new life.  And then- years later- you encounter the murderer.  He doesn’t know who you are, but he’s friendly and reaching out to shake your hand.  What would you do???

Pastor Jim sent out the below devotional on Saturday, May 8…

 

Greetings Friends:

Click on the following drop down boxes to uncover some “nuggets” of scripture…
Note:  A couple of different Bible versions are used.  “NRSV” stands for “New Revised Standard Version” and “NCV” is the  “New Century Version”

Colossians 3:13

“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (NRSV).

Ephesians 4:32

 

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (NRSV).

Matthew 6:12

 

Matthew 6:12, Jesus said, “Forgive us for our sins, just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us” (NCV).

 
 
As we journey through life, Christian can experience pain, hurt, disappointment, and even frustrations. At the same time, in certain circumstances, extending forgiveness does not always come automatically. Yet as the verses noted above remind us that those who know Christ as Savior and Lord are called to intentionally work hard at extending forgiveness to everyone.  To be sure, it is a tall order our Lord gives us. Yet, He has promised to give us the power and ability to do this.  Below is a true story which you may have heard before. The source I draw this story from gives us a real life example of what it means to offer forgiveness even in the midst of confusion, hurt and great pain.  I pray we all will be blessed.

Corrie ten Boon (4/15/1882 – 4/15/1983) was a woman with a profound Christian faith who along with her family, gave assistance to Jewish people during World War II. She and many in her family were imprisoned by the Germans when it was discovered that they were helping the Jewish people. Following her imprisonment in a Nazi prison she tells this story:

“It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the Nazi processing center at Ravensbruck. Suddenly it all came back to me:  the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, pain-blanched face of my sister Betsie. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said. “To think that He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. I stood there for what seemed an eternity with the coldness clutching my heart.

Forgiveness is not an emotion. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I tried to smile. I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.  And so I breathed a silent prayer. ‘Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness’. ‘… I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened;  into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that brought tears to my eyes. For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on God’s. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself” (emphasis added).

Wow! What a witness! What a testimony! What a powerful example of what God can do when God’s people are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through our lives. Friends, the same Holy Spirit who empowered Corrie ten Boom to offer forgiveness to that German guard, is available to empower us to extend forgiveness to all.  Are we willing to be as receptive to the Holy Spirit as Jesus taught and Corrie ten Boom experienced?

Shalom,

Pastor Jim

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