Loss into gain (2)

2021-04-15
Matthew 3:8 NLT

When Israel’s leaders turned to Jephthah for help, they were in distress and wanted to ‘use’ him. So Jephthah said, in essence, ‘Let’s get an understanding of the type of relationship we’re going to have.’ At that point, he negotiated with them and ended up in a top leadership spot.

When our trust has been broken, we need to forgive. By doing that, we set ourselves free. But we need to use wisdom in how to move forward. Many of us will have experienced a similar situation to Jephthah’s at school, in the workplace, or even at church; perhaps someone has rejected, ignored, or laughed at us, but if they find they need our help, they want to build a relationship based only on the benefits they can get from it.

While it’s important for us to be forgiving, compassionate, and help people who are facing difficulties, God doesn’t expect us to put ourselves in a position to be hurt again. Forgiveness should be immediate, but trust must be earned. The person who has hurt us must show the fruit of repentance – consistent behaviour that shows he or she has had a change of heart.

Jesus said, ‘Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.’ We need two things: grace and wisdom. Grace means extending to others the same forgiveness that God has extended to us. Wisdom means understanding what kind of relationship we can have with that person in the future.

Phil 1-4; Mark 2:1-12; Ps 43; Prov 10:10

Turn your loss into gain (2)


Matthew 3:8 NLT

When Israel’s leaders turned to Jephthah for help, they were in distress and wanted to “use” him. So Jephthah said, in essence, “Let’s get an understanding of the type of relationship we’re going to have.” At that point, he negotiated with them and ended up in a top leadership spot.

When your trust has been violated, you need to forgive. By doing so, you set yourself free. But you must exercise wisdom in how to move forward. God doesn’t expect you to put yourself in a position to be hurt again. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the guy who went to the doctor with a severe burn on his right ear. He explained, “I was ironing and watching television when the phone rang, and I picked up the iron instead of the phone.” Puzzled, the doctor said, “But how did you get the burn on your left ear?” The man exclaimed, “Because he called back!”

Bottom line: when you’ve been “burned” by someone, be careful about putting yourself in a position to be burned over and over again. Forgiveness must be immediate, but trust must be earned. Your offender must show the fruit of repentance – consistent behavior that gives evidence that he or she has had a change of heart. Jesus said, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.”

You need two things: grace and wisdom. Grace means extending to others the same forgiveness that God has extended to you. Wisdom means knowing what kind of relationship you can have with that person in the future.

Soul food: Phil 1-4; Mark 2:1-12; Ps 43; Prov 10:10

Forgive from the heart

2021-02-05
Matthew 18:33 NLT

Jesus told this story: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold – along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned – to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, “Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.” Then his master was filled with pity for him, and…forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant…begged for a little more time. “Be patient with me, and I will pay it,” he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full…the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart’ (Matthew 18:23-35 NLT).

Are you holding on to resentment or struggling to forgive someone? Today, with God’s help, make the choice to begin the process of forgiveness.

Isa 63-66; Matt 12:38-50; Ps 120; Prov 3:33-35

Forgive because you’ve been forgiven


Matthew 18:33 NLT

Jesus said: “The Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold – along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned – to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and…forgave his debt.

But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant…begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full…the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” (vv. 23-35 NLT).

If you are harboring resentment and refusing to forgive someone, read this story again. It’s the word for you today!

Soul food: Isa 63-66; Matt 12:38-50; Ps 120; Prov 3:33-35

Get rid of bitterness

2020-12-16
Ephesians 4:31 NLT

The words ‘get rid of all bitterness’ might make us think of a doctor thoroughly cleaning a wound to prevent infection. Another translation, ‘Looking carefully…lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble’ (Hebrews 12:15 NKJV), commands us to be vigilant in case a tiny seed of bitterness takes root inside us and causes problems.

Bitterness has many sources: someone who has hurt us; a nasty relationship breakup; the careless words of a friend who’s not even aware of their effect; a work colleague who doesn’t appreciate what we do.

The way to get rid of bitterness is for us to forgive, before the problem becomes embedded in our emotions and starts feeding off our memories. The Message paraphrases Paul’s words: ‘Make a clean break…Forgive one another as quickly…as…Christ forgave you’ (Ephesians 4:31-32 MSG). Harbouring bitterness won’t change the other person, but it will change us – and not for the better. What happens is this: Satan enters the picture and persuades us that it’s okay to harbour resentment, usually by convincing us that we’re just protecting ourselves from getting hurt again. We justify our position, and get comfortable living with resentment and bitterness.

When we don’t tackle these feelings, they can turn into a grudge, where we refuse to let go of the hurt and desire revenge instead of forgiveness. But that doesn’t have to happen to us, because there’s no negative emotion so deeply rooted in us that God’s grace can’t reach down and remove it.

So let’s draw close to God and ask Him to help us forgive, and exchange our revenge for His justice.

Neh 8-10; John 20:1-9; Ps 105:37-45; Prov 30:20-23