(Photo courtesy of: www.markmillerblog.com)

Last month's article was on family feuds, so it only seemed fitting that this month we should discuss forgiveness. It seems that being human, we all have issues of the heart of one kind or another, and forgiveness plays a large part in the human condition! Offenses come in almost any relationship. The closer the relationship, the deeper the hurt. The Bible in many places, encourages us to be slow to anger or be offended, (Ecc. 7:9) and quick to forgive (Ps. 86:5), like our Heavenly Father!

Some may be surprised to learn that forgiveness is a DECISION...not an emotion! Emotions are fickle,  therefore, we cannot be led by them. Many have heard it said “...let go and let God” which is excellent  Biblical advice. Another popular saying is “forgive and forget”, which seems not so easy to do. Many of us can forgive but how do you make yourself forget?! You cannot...it is a GOD thing! Certain things are really unforgettable, especially when innocent children are involved. BUT GOD can and is willing to remove the stinger, so that your wound can heal, if you truly give it to Him.

There are certain natural things that determine a child's personality, such as birth order in the family. The eldest, especially a girl, is usually Mommy's helper and watches over the younger children. If there are several younger siblings, it seems she doesn't get to enjoy her childhood as much as the other children do. That is so unfair, as the younger ones tend to resent her, and do not want her around as she “will tell on us”! Therefore, her childhood is pretty much over when the younger ones are old enough to let the eldest “watch them”. When she is older, she takes on household chores at an earlier age than the younger ones do, because “Mom” needs her help. Dishes and running errands in the house, besides “watch the kids” for Mom is the normal life, by age 9.

She is ostracized by the younger siblings, because they feel the eldest is Mom's spy, and “always bossing me around” which she does to keep them safe and/or out of trouble!

The “baby” of the family is on the opposite end of the “large family dynamics” from the eldest.  He or she is usually allowed to do more things at an earlier age than the eldest had been, probably because there are more eyes to watch over him or her. The youngest doesn't have the responsibility that the eldest had at the same age, because there are more hands to help with the chores.

As the years go by, the eldest is the one who tries all the “firsts” in life. They are the “pioneers” of the family, from potty training to getting a driver's license. Some may feel they were the “practice kid”!

In many cases, the younger ones grow up resenting the eldest, which sadly, can carry over into adulthood. Sometimes the opposite may also be true, as the eldest may also resent how the rules that  used to apply to them, don't seem to apply to the younger ones. Either way, we must learn how to forgive  one another.

It is amazing to find a large family where all the children agree that their parents were “equal opportunity” parents. If you come from a family like that, you are greatly blessed with very wise and even godly parents!

As Christians, we came from a family like that. I was just recently sharing this with my eldest daughter; how that our Heavenly Father is an “Equal Opportunity God”! From the beginning of the actual salvation process, Jesus paid the same price for all. During His arrest and torture, those around Him saw what He went through. We who have lived in many of the generations since, can read about it in much detail, in the four Gospels.

When Christ was crucified, He hung between two thieves. They each saw and heard all that Jesus endured, during their own hours of agony. Finally, just before Christ dismissed His spirit, one of the thieves said to Jesus, “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Jesus replied “Today shall you be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23: 42-43).

Through Jesus' sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection, we who have chosen Him, are instantly reconciled to God, (i.e. restored to favor) and that same promise of eternal life with Jesus in Paradise is also a promise to us!!!

This is the message of reconciliation (i.e. “just as if I've never sinned”!). Soul winners preach this message, and it is the most “freeing” truth that has ever been spoken! We cannot judge our (or others)  standing by performance, but rather the other way around! The Word states that “we are the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ by faith: (Phil. 3:9) ... it is a GIFT through faith in Christ!  It also states that we are known by our FRUIT! (Matt. 7:20)

1 John 1:5-7 tells us that every believer walks in the light and every unbeliever walks in darkness.  Since Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12) we are called the “children of Light” (1 Thes.5:5).

May God Bless You All,
Pastor Moser
August/September, 2013

W.O. W.

God's love through us is not premeditated...it is spontaneous. It bursts forth in extraordinary ways!