Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Forgiveness Pressed Down and Flowing Over

A note from Lena:

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-6)

Give, [of your forgiveness!] and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)

What does it mean to love your enemies? First of all, I think that anyone with whom you have had difficulties, and have been tempted to carry bitterness in your heart against, qualifies as your enemy. If you have ever grumbled in your heart against that person, they qualify. Your husband, your child, your boss, your pastor, your kids' friend's mom, the grumpy waiter at your favorite coffee shop. It doesn't matter. Anyone against whom we are tempted to raise up our hand of wrath is someone who qualifies for the deluxe treatment of love!
And what are we supposed to do with them? I am going to say this just like Jesus does. Lend them money, and don't expect them to give it back. (When was the last time you did that?) Let him take a swat at you. You're bigger than that. They talk about you behind your back? Hmm. Rough. Talk about how good they are at what they do. Give honest and sincere affirmation (OUCH!!), especially when they might never know you did it. (Check my sources--Luke 6:27-42).

Why do we have to do this? Whoa! You already forgot! Don't you remember? What did you do to make yourself worthy of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross? OK, your dimples are really cute, but you didn't DO anything. Nothing. And there was plenty to accuse you of, even if you were three when you received Christ. I was ungrateful! I was wicked!

This is the reason: WE GOT THE SAME TREATMENT FROM JESUS. He poured out his grace on us when we were still in the dark. We were the wicked and ungrateful one.
And He poured out rich blessings. We hit the grace jackpot, and he asks us to live out this same grace so that we can be like Him. Living in this sort of love is our testimony! Let me show you what my God did for me. I didn't deserve it, but He poured out his forgiveness on me. That is why I can do the same for you. Only a person who understands exactly how much in need they were of God's grace when He intervened is able to live that sort of grace. (He who has been forgiven much loves much.)Some people can live alcohol-free, no problem. Others have an incredibly disciplined prayer life that makes others stand in awe. But it is just plain impossible to love like this without having experienced that sort of love first. May God be with us as we stand in those moments in which we choose our reactions. May we, in those moments, remember what He did for us, and may that testimony transform our most difficult relationships.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.

1 comment:

JQ said...

Thanks, Lena. I needed to read this tonight and probaly daily for the rest of life!