As I went into worship this morning I knew that I had to “deal with some stuff ” today. Some things had happened in my week that had put unforgiveness in my heart. I didn’t like it and I didn’t feel good about it – but it was there. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that my heart was stirred in conviction this morning to deal with my unforgiveness as it was a worship time that included Communion. Communion is the sacrament of reconciliation. Unforgiveness is a wall between me and God.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levite and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of
God wants to bring me back into ‘right relationship’ (righteous) with Him. God is holy. He cannot be part of an intimate relationship with me if I am NOT holy. Calling myself or knowing that I am holy is not arrogant; not self-righteous. It is ONLY through Jesus and what He has done in my life and what He IS in my life that makes it even possible for me to be holy. God will bring me into His refining woodshed to clean me in the fire and cleansing power of His Holy Spirit. And so this morning all I had to do was kneel in my sin and weakness and ask for God’s help.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
I’m not sure that there are any three chapters in the Bible that are so packed full of good, hard, beautiful words as Matthew 5 – 7. The next time I am asked to teach a Sunday school class I am going to use these chapters. It should take about half a year to hear all that God has to say in those three chapters!
In this passage, Jesus is reminding me about one of His principles – reaping and sowing. If I sow forgiveness, I will reap forgiveness. If I hold on to the ‘weeds’ of unforgiveness, I will harvest only unforgiveness in my life. As I thought about the hurts of my week, God showed me the hurts I had sown to others and how I had hurt Him in my ugly thoughts and words. My head bowed in shame but as I spoke the words, “God, forgive me!” I felt God’s arms around me and His comfort immediately in my spirit. I was reconciled to my Father once again.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
There are probably some people who did things to hurt me this week who don’t like me and don’t care if they hurt me. There are others who have no idea that they have been careless or thoughtless in their actions; leaving me in the dirt. I can’t change them. I can choose to make a change that brings me closer to God and receive His forgiveness and healing. My eyes are to be on God and His plan and will for my life. I choose to take this opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness for my sins and receive His healing power that is not hindered by anyone – except me.
I went to worship this morning, battling to get there. I came home tired from the battle but renewed to walk another week with the Holy Spirits ‘clothes’ of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” – and love. THANK YOU, GOD!