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2 days Blog: You Can’t Handle His Truth…… or can you?

Discussion and Devotional Thought of the Day:Concordia Lutheran Church - Cerritos, Ca , at dawn on Easter Sunday

WARNING THIS BLOG POST MAY ANNOY THE HELL OUT OF YOU!

21  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?” 22  “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven, 23  because the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a king who decided to check on his servants’ accounts. 24  He had just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25  The servant did not have enough to pay his debt, so the king ordered him to be sold as a slave, with his wife and his children and all that he had, in order to pay the debt. 26  The servant fell on his knees before the king. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay you everything!’ 27  The king felt sorry for him, so he forgave him the debt and let him go. 28  “Then the man went out and met one of his fellow servants who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed him and started choking him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said. 29  His fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back!’ 30  But he refused; instead, he had him thrown into jail until he should pay the debt. 31  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very upset and went to the king and told him everything. 32  So he called the servant in. ‘You worthless slave!’ he said. ‘I forgave you the whole amount you owed me, just because you asked me to. 33  You should have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you.’ 34  The king was very angry, and he sent the servant to jail to be punished until he should pay back the whole amount.” 35  And Jesus concluded, “That is how my Father in heaven will treat every one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 (TEV)

569  If you are annoyed at being told the truth, then… why do you ask? Is it perhaps that you want to be answered with your own “truth” so your errant ways can be justified? (1)

It seems the number of FB and Twitter posts recently that talk about how to treat those who sin against you, those who don’t meet your standards f behavior, those that just tick you off are on the rise.

Most don’t called for a counter-attack or revenge, or so it seems.  But they do, as they justify walking walking away, as they justify completely terminating the relationship, as they call for you to slam the door in the face of the one hurting, disrespecting, annoying and sinning against you.  They might even say that they forgive, but can never forget.  Or they talk about forgiveness, but not allowing the person to hurt or disappoint them again.

But that leads to a question – what good is it if there is forgiveness, if there is not the possibility of reconciliation?  If you cut someone off after the 7th sin, how in the world can they sin against you 69*7 more????

Undoubtedly, some are thinking – what about in cases of abuse, where violence has erupted, where there have been criminal acts like murder or rape?  What about where there are atrocities like genocide?   Are you saying that we must reconcile with “those” people?  Do we have to provide them the option of hurting us again?  Do we have to encourage something that we know could end in more pain?

That’s a good question, a very hard one.

But it is one we have to ask!

We have to realize that true forgiveness requires and hungers for reconciliation, for restoration. It may not happen, but we have to desire it.

What can reconciliation look like?  Can it be done with gradually, rebuilding that which was lost? Can we diligently work to restore that which was broken, to see it healed?  ( Not just tolerating the brokenness)  If our absence is necessary (and sometimes it is until repentance manifests) can we grieve over that, rather than triumph in it?  Do we weep as Christ wept over stubborn Jerusalem?

Jesus never said following Him would be easy.  Paul talked about it in terms of suffering like/with Jesus is necessary here – because of the glory we will share with Him there. So there will be sacrifices we will have to make, especially to our pride, especially to our expectations.  We will have to have the attitude of a servant, for we serve God, even as Jesus did.  Our work isn’t to promote ourselves, but to work at seeing His desire fulfilled… the desire that all come to repentance, that all come and are reconciled and restored, that all are presented perfect in Christ.

Look at the servant – forgiven by God of millions, who wouldn’t forgive such a small debt!  He’s talking about us when we separate reconciliation from forgiveness, when we pull back – not to urge repentance, but out of a desire to save ourselves, to guard our pride, or even our reputation.  We have no problem seeing the servant as evil and wrong, yet do we see the same lesson in our own lives. The truth of this parable stings, it hurts, when we realize we aren’t really forgiving, because we demand with the forgiveness that reconciliation isn’t possible.  That’s not forgiveness – that saying they don’t have to pay the debt – but we will still remember they owe us.  That isn’t right. It isn’t the way of the truth.

If we know this is true, Mercy must reign in our lives.  That we effectively use both God’s law and the gospel correctly to witness redemption occur.

It’s a very tough calling – living this way.  Yet it is His call on our lives, it is the truth that we see in Christ.  In fact, it is the truth that we can’t see outside of Him, and without the Holy Spirit’s help – it is impossible to see this truth revealed in our lives. But we need to see it, it will imprison and slowly kill us until we do.

Lord have mercy on us!  Help us handle the truth, that we are called to live a life of forgiveness… as those who forgive and reconcile, and those forgiven and reconciled!

 

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 2433-2435). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Do We Sin with Boldness?

Devotion/Discussion of the Day;

 3  When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long. 4  Day and night you punished me, LORD; my strength was completely drained, as moisture is dried up by the summer heat. 5  Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins. 6  So all your loyal people should pray to you in times of need; when a great flood of trouble comes rushing in, it will not reach them. 7  You are my hiding place; you will save me from trouble. I sing aloud of your salvation, because you protect me.    Psalm 32:3-7 (TEV)

8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. 9  But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. 10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make a liar out of God, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 (TEV) 

If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious  sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world]  we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness  dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner. (1)

It’s one of the best known partial  quotes of Luther, the line “Sin Boldly”.  Misquoted, used to justify all sorts of sins and perversions, but it is not about sinning.

It’s about God’s Faithfulness.  It’s about God’s desire… it’s about the joy of knowing that we are cleansed, forgiven, absolved, made new.

But in order to know the peace and joy that comes from being saved from sin… we have to realize we have sinned, we need to confess it, so that we realize we can be cleansed of it, that it can be purged.  Otherwise it will overwhelm us, it will drown our lives… the anxiety will overcome us…

But if we confess it – if we allow that sin to be revealed, it we know Christ will take it away… we can rejoice and be at peace.

So why hide it?  Why shrink in shame from God?  Why act like He is not involved in every part of our lives?

Why not let Jesus break the hold it has on our lives?

Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk

Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 48: Luther’s works, vol. 48: Letters I (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (281–282). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

The Battle against Sin and Immorality – how it is to be waged…

Devotional?Discussion Thought of the Day:

 13  And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13 (NLT)

” 138    Infelix ego homo!, quis me liberabit de corpore mortis huius?—“Unhappy man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?” Thus cried Saint Paul. Courage! He too had to fight.

139    At the time of temptation think of the love that awaits you in Heaven: foster the virtue of hope—it’s not a lack of generosity.(1)

 

As a pastor, I have to deal with sin quite a bit.  First of all there is my own, then there is that of my people I pastor – whether members of the congregation I pastor, or those who I interact with regularly.  It is a bit ironic that those who aren’t “officially” mine – are more willing ot read this and deal with sin, but that’ s another story.

I love Paul’s self-disclosure in Romans 7, His dealing with his own battles with sin – and the despair that comes from unsuccessfully.  It gives me some assurance that we can, bluntly and faithfully, address the presence of sin in our lives.

We don’t need to hide from the grief sin causes, we don’t need to grieve without addresses it.

The answer of it is far simpler – far easier, and laid out in scripture.

Go to God when you are tempted, go to God with your sin.  Fight it – but not with weapons of our own making – fight sin and temptation by taking it to God.  Think about His love, recognize His presence – plead with Him to help you… and when you fail – turn to our Lord and know His answer to your plea for mercy is always “yes”.

Trust (that is have faith/believe) that God will see you through the temptation, through the failure, that His very love will bring you to hear that He has forgiven you.  That His love will always, always, overcome evil.

Rom, Sankt Paul vor den Mauern, San Paolo fuor...

Rom, Sankt Paul vor den Mauern, San Paolo fuori le mura Italiano: Statua di San Paolo di fronte alla facciata della Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura a Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And Rejoice – for the Lord is with You.

 

 

 

 

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 457-458). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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