This month our ladies’ book discussion group is reading and discussing “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” written by Philip Yancey.
The last paragraph of Chapter 3 speaks to me. “Grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it and I am one of those people. I think back to who I was —resentful, wound tight with anger, a single hardened link in a long chain of ungrace learned from family and church. Now I am trying in my own way to pipe the tune of grace. I do so because I know, more surely than I know anything, that any pang of healing or forgiveness or goodness I have ever felt comes solely from the grace of God. I yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of that grace.”
That certainly does not say anything about earning or deserving grace or saying the right prayer or even doing anything to lose that Grace. 2 Corinthians 4:15 reads “For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace that is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.” Today I will make the effort to see and feel that grace.
Recently, as I was praying, a thought came to mind of someone who had hurt me many, many years ago and I hadn’t remembered this person for years. I recognized this had come up for me to address, heal and release. I was led to study the story of Joseph in the Bible who was sold into slavery by his brothers, later imprisoned for a false allegation, but ended up being second to Pharoah for interpreting a dream for him. He endured many hardships but remained loyal to God. Genesis 45:8 reads, “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and Lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” That was what he told his brothers when he saw them years later.
Joseph could have been filled with such hatred and bitterness, that he would have remained stuck forever. He chose to continue to have faith and follow God and surely, this must have been difficult at times. This was an answer to a prayer that I was not aware I was praying, but it definitely needed to be handled. When we have hatred in our hearts, we are the only one harmed. Today, I will actively pray to love everyone!
This can only be done by turning wholeheartedly to God.
This morning at Church the solo was the following that I found so appropriate!
” A man ventures into town, but he’s robbed and he’s beaten down. More than one person passes him by without offering to lend a hand. Til a man with a foreign face takes notice and slows his pace. He casts aside social barriers and takes the stranger under his care. And the grateful man he asks why did you save me?
In this world we all share—
One Father, one Mother – each heart like the other – look through the eyes of Love and you’ll only see your brother there. There’s power in forgiveness – I believe we can live this – look through the eyes of Love and you’ll see you’re not that different from me.
Now you say that your God’s not mine. And that’s why you draw this line. There are too many differences and it’s best we remain status quo. But we travel from shore to shore, so our worlds collide all the more. We’re given chances to reach out like that kind stranger long ago. And if we could only try to hear each other, we would learn that…
In this world we all share one Father, one Mother”
Couldn’t we all learn from the story of “The Good Samaritan”? Luke 10:25-37
One definition of the word “repent” is “regret” as of a past deed. To me that indicates being “stuck” while ruminating about the past which actually doesn’t improve anything.
Eventually something has to change in our thinking for us to progress. This means to release “self-pity” and “self-condemnation” and replace it with Love and forgiveness which is always the answer.
Hebrews 4:16 states, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” This can only come after we learn to be gentler with ourselves.
Yesterday, my husband and I went to see the above movie. He found it very depressing and I found the message about forgiveness overwhelming. Undoubtedly, one needs to have plenty of tissues with them when seeing it. Immediately, I was reminded of Job 11:16 where it states, “Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.”
Forgiveness is so important that it is mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer…”Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” It is necessary for both health and harmony. In Galations 5:22 it states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Only when our hearts are softened can any of the afore-mentioned be experienced.
Today, I will practice forgiveness.
This morning it was brought to my attention that someone had made an innocent mistake and mentally, I judged it. An hour hadn’t passed until I made a similar error since I had looked at a date wrong and was immediately reminded of Luke 18:11, “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘ God, I thank you that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.’ ”
Amusement and gratitude filled my being as I forgave myself immediately of my misjudgment of myself and another!