Monday, October 5, 2009

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God Commands Us To Love One Another

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might, and these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes” (Deut. 6: 5-8) “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart…”(Lev. 19:17) “ Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge…but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19: 18) Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive our trespassors.” (Mat. 6:12) “..He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone..”) (John 8:7)

In today’s anti- religious, anti-Christ atmosphere, it is not politically correct to follow the teachings of Jesus, much less to be diligent in teaching His way to our children. So why does it amaze us when we see our families falling apart at the seams? Yet these are all instructions from the Lord as to how we are to live out our lives in love towards our fellow man in order to have real peace and harmony. If we claim to truly be followers of Christ, we must realize that loving one another, which must include forgiveness, is not an option or choice. It is a command. Yet forgiveness is not something that comes naturally to us. True forgiveness is only possible when we let the grace of God radiate from our hearts towards others as His grace has been poured out towards us. Grace is not something that one can work for or earn, nor is it something that any of us deserves. Grace is something that is freely given whether it is deserved or not.

Jesus took our sins upon Himself on the cross. Among the last of His words were “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Did we ever do anything to earn or deserve His sacrifice or forgiveness of our sins? No, He gave His life freely that we might have forgiveness, and have eternal life through faith in Him. In the natural, when a person perceives that another person has hurt him, the natural response is to desire to return hurt back upon the offender. Yet that is not what God did for us, nor is it what He has taught us to do. In fact, His instructions to us are to love one another as He has loved us. Are any of us without sin? All of us have caused hurt to someone else at one time or another. Yet when it is done to us, somehow we think that the offender must grovel at our feet and pay for the hurt they caused. By harboring such unforgiveness in our hearts, we let a root of bitterness grow within us that will taint our relationship with the offender for as long as we hold onto the idea that somehow justice must be served, and they must pay for the harm they caused us.. That same root of bitterness, after it is planted in our hearts, will continue to grow and spread its tentacles until it spreads like a wildfire into other areas of our life. By choosing to walk in unforgiveness, we add fertilizer to that root of bitterness based upon our perception that we have a right to do so. Many friendships and family relationships have been destroyed because of that self-righteous spirit in our own lives. We may say with our mouths that we have forgiven a person for their intentional or unintentional acts that caused such deep wounds; however, by our on attitude and continual “casting of stones” at the offender, we show ourselves to be a liar, deceiving ourselves, but not others. (“..out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” Mat. 12:34)

How different God’s ways are from ours. Jesus demands another way, a way that sets aside our desire or our need to get even; a way that breaks the cycle of unforgiveness, however unfair it may seem. Seeing Jesus offer forgiveness, time and time again, got the disciples’ attention; so Peter came up to Jesus one day and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone when they sin against me?

Up to seven times?” To our ears, that sounds pretty reasonable, even overly generous, doesn’t it?

Yet Jesus responds, “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times. Or seven times seventy, 490 times,” some translations read. This is a hard teaching and even harder in the natural to follow. Yet walls of unforgiveness will crumble and fall when we realize the true meaning of the full grace of God that has so undeservedly been poured out towards us. Not only has He forgiven us for our sins (things that we have done time and time again that hurt, or offend, Him), but also in addition, He has washed them away from His remembrance as if they had never happened.
God is love. In the natural, it is impossible for mankind to remove the hurt from our remembrance. However, love covers a multitude of sins. As we yield ourselves to the Lord, He will let that same kind of godly love reign within our hearts towards our fellow man. It is this kind of love that will set our spirits free from bondage to an unforgiving spirit and bitterness. We are then able to walk in love, and peace and harmony will once again reign in our hearts, restoring right relationships with God and our fellow man.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there
be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm, 139: 23, 24)

Ginger Rahn


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