Monday, November 19, 2007

Today is Monday....first day after a very busy weekend. Like I've already said..Randal and his mom both had surgery in the past three days. Randal on Friday night and then his mom on Sunday night. She was supposed to have her surgery on Sunday morning, but the nurse didn't follow dr.'s orders and put blood thinners into her I.V. bag. Which caused her to have a long nosebleed and her blood was much too thin to be able to do surgery. She spent the afternoon/evening coughing up the blood. Then the other thing the nurse did was give her food on Sunday morning. She figured she should feed her because Florence is a diabetic and her blood sugar was really low. She should have put dextrose or something of that sort into her I.V. This made it impossible for them to do surgery for 12 hours. When her dr. came in he was furious! He went up one side of the nurse and down the other...right in front of Florence. She was quite amazed...she said she'd never seen a dr. do that before. Can't say that I'd blame him though. If the clot in Flo's leg had gone to her heart/brain and she had died before surgery because of these would have been very bad, obviously. So it has been quite the weekend! Hope you're all well.
So here's my devotional today... I thought it was an apt subject after the experience I just described.

Fellowship Without Forgiveness: Impossible
by Jon Walker

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

Fellowship without forgiveness is impossible.

As believers, we’re called “to settle our relationships with each other.” (2 Corinthians 5:18 MSG) We need to consistently forgive others and receive forgiveness from others, or we’ll “give up in despair.” (2 Corinthians 2:7 CEV)

Whenever we’re hurt by someone, we have a choice to make: Will we focus on retaliation or resolution?

The Bible speaks candidly about settling the score: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV)

In God’s economy, it’s not enough to say we won’t seek revenge; we’re to press into the very heart of forgiveness, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

The Bible is very clear that forgiveness is not optional for the Christ-follower. God sets this high standard because he knows how much is at stake in your life: Bitterness and unforgiveness are a cancer that eventually will destroy you from the inside out. Forgiveness is the scalpel that removes the tumor.

This doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to immediately forgive and be done with it. As you become more and more Christ-like, that will become possible, but for now you may have to work at forgiving someone who has hurt you in a particularly painful way. In other words, you may forgive this person but soon begin to feel a root of unforgiveness growing in your heart.

When this occurs, you can go to King Jesus and ask him to help you with this cycle. He will help you release the offender, and the Holy Spirit will guide you in your effort.

A major point here is that forgiveness is a choice you can make. The power of God, working within you, means you no longer have to remain a slave to unforgiveness or bitterness.

In Colossians, the Apostle Paul provides the basis and motivation for forgiveness: “You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 NLT, italics added). When we remember the price Jesus paid to forgive us, how can we not forgive? (Romans 5:8)

What now?

· When you forgive, you’re not pretending it didn’t hurt – Forgiveness means you no longer hold the offense against the offender. It means you’ve pardoned the debt, and you’ve intentionally chosen to release the one who hurt you. We’re to love deeply, because “love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)

· Stop right now and talk to God – Have an honest conversation with God about someone you need to forgive. Our heavenly Father knows that it’s not easy to let go of our hurts, but he will give you the grace to forgive.

· Be honest with God – Cry out to God; tell him exactly how you feel. He won’t be surprised or upset by your anger, hurt, insecurity, or bitterness.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.