Archive for the ‘Foregiveness’ Category

Headaches, back pain or spasms, neck pain or stiffness, and shoulder pain….all signs of carrying a heavy load.  During the last few years the trend of women’s purse size is growing, and as we all know the larger the bag, the more things we pack in it.  Water bottle, cell phone, makeup bag, wallet, photo book, medicines, kindle, maybe even a laptop.  Sound familiar?  It’s recommended that we carry simple necessities such as ID, credit/debit card, cell phone, and lipstick, but we don’t want to give up our stuff.  Afterall, who knows when we might need those things.  Heavy bags may be cute and convenient, but they also take a toll on our bodies.

Unconfessed sin also takes a toll on us physically .   David knew the pain of unconfessed sin very well.  He committed adultery with Bathsheba and eventually murdered her husband in an effort to cover his sin.  In Psalms 32:3-4, David says, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was  sapped as in the heat of summer.”  (NIV)  David kept silent about his sin and tried to act like nothing had happened, but his sin began to take its toll physically. Unconfessed sin and God’s heavy hand of conviction weighed him down causing physical pain and lack of strength.  Disturbed sleep, not eating, eating too much, memory loss, mood swings, anxiety attacks….all physicall effects of trying to hide our sin.  Each unconfessed sin adds more unnecessary weight to our lives, and they grow heavy like an overstuffed bag.  Sometimes we choose to live with the burden of sin until it causes chronic pain that weighs us down, holds us back, and makes us miserable.

I can remember hiding with my brother from my Granny when we were young.  We giggled as we peeked around a tree and watched as she called our name and searched.  She knew we were playing games, and we never revealed ourselves until she finally grew frustrated with our games and brought out the fly swatter.  My own children have hidden in the clothing racks and stacks of dogfood at Wal-Mart, and they loved to go in the pasture playing Hide and Seek in the dark as they got older.  Hiding is an exciting adventure for children, but as we get older we no longer hide for enjoyment but rather we try to hide our sins from God.

He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” (AKJ)  This game of Hide and Seek that we all play began with Adam and Eve.  When they ate of the forbidden fruit, they knew they had disobeyed God’s command.  Genesis 3:8 says, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”  Sin causes fear and our first response is to hide, but God provides a hiding place that offers peace, relief, and love.

Psalms 32:5 shows us how David handled his burdensome load.  “Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” (NLT)  David was once again able to experience joy in his life.  In Psalms 32:1 he said, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” (NLT)  Whatever sin is weighing you down, God will forgive and deliver you from the guilt.  All you have to do is ask.

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You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalms 32:7 (NIV)

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Mailbox Mercy

residential mailbox, United States
Image via Wikipedia

Today, I have a new mailbox.  A mailbox which represents grace and forgiveness.  Last weekend a few boys found entertainment in destroying mailboxes with baseball bats.  Not just a few, but over sixty mailboxes were destroyed that night.   The police became involved and reality quickly hit the boys and their families.  The next morning the boys went to each household to offer their apologies. Some people were angry and felt they should be punished.  Others laughed it off as teenage mischief. A little teenage mischief turned into a federal offense which could result in jail time.  These boys’ parents have made them apologize, sell their vehicles to pay for damages, and today installed new mail boxes.  Does this excuse the mistake they made?  Do they deserve further punishment? Some may say its the beginning of a life of crime.  But then again, maybe they’ve learned a lesson and will turn away from similar actions in the future.

Matthew 6:12 says, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us” (NLT).  It was difficult to look into the eyes of these boys and their families and say they deserve to go to prison for destroying my mailbox.  I don’t agree with their actions, but I believe we have been called to forgive them just as we have been forgiven. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12(NIV).   Most of us desire grace and forgiveness for our children and even for ourselves when mistakes are made. The least we can do is to offer that same gift to others.   Its true these boys should have followed this Golden Rule to begin with, but imagine how receiving forgiveness from so many could affect their lives.  How much differently could their lives be if the people in those sixty homes remained angry and refused forgiveness?

Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV).  Most things in life are more difficult to forgive than a busted up mailbox. Whether we are hurt financially, physically, or emotionally, forgiveness is never easy. But because of His mercy and love for us, we must find a way. “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you,” Psalms 86:5 (NIV). If we ask, our heavenly Father is gracious enough to forgive each and every sin we commit each day. He will not deny His love just because we messed up again. “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love,” Psalms 145:8 (NIV).

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How many times have you heard the statement, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”? If that statement is true, many of us are in trouble! But let’s forget about the piles of laundry, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the toilets that need scrubbing. Instead think about spirirtual cleanliness.

I’ve realized that sin is like the buildup on my hand mirror. Everyday activities of applying makeup and styling hair causes a buildup of dust and hair spray on my mirror. Its such a gradual process that I grow accustomed to the distorted view and continue to use the same mirror day after day without noticing the barrier that is building up between me and my reflection. Eventually it becomes so noticeable that something must be done. Once it has been cleaned, I’m always amazed at how much more clearly I can see my reflection and wonder how I could see anything before.

In the same way, unconfessed sin in our life builds up and gradually creates a barrier between us and God. We don’t even realize how its affecting our relationship with Him because its such a slow process. Our lives may still reflect Him on the outside when others see us going to church and doing “Christian” things, but the reality is we can no longer see God clearly. We are reading the same Bible, but don’t hear from God when reading the scripture. We continue to pray, but feel God doesn’t hear those prayers. We are looking into the same mirror, but it is covered with the grime of unconfessed sin.

The good news is that cleanup is easy. 1 John1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” It doesn’t matter how much sin is distorting our view of God, He can clean it up. Isaiah 1:18 says, “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.” Once we confess those sins, the barrier between us and God is removed, and we can once again see God clearly.

When our life mirror is clean, our relationship with God will be pure. So yes, cleanliness IS next to Godliness.

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