Hope and Forgiveness

by Kim McDougal

“Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!” – Matthew 18:21-22 (AMP)

I forgive you, but I hope you have learned your lesson and you won’t do that again!Is this really the act of forgiveness? Not if you’re keeping score. Have you had anyone in your life hurt you over and over again? I’m pretty sure a lot of us have. And according to our scripture today, it doesn’t matter how many times a person hurts us, Jesus wants us to forgive them. I think what makes it hard for us to do this is, because we don’t see the correlation between somebody sinning against us and us sinning against God. How many times has God had to forgive you and I? If we could really see how grieved God is when we goof up, maybe we could more easily extend God’s grace to someone who has hurt us. Notice I said, “extend God’s grace.” My grace isn’t sufficient, because in my finite mind, I’d like the person to learn their lesson. But, I can extend God’s grace, because He extended His grace towards me.

Grace is something you and I cannot earn. We can do nothing to get it. It was given to us, because our Lord had compassion and mercy on us. And if I’m real with myself, I still mess up. My thoughts aren’t always pure, I don’t say the right things all the time, my attitude needs adjusting, sometimes I get frustrated quickly, etc. All these things have to be taken to the Lord in repentance and His grace gets extended over me to cover my sins that grieves Him. Sometimes it comes right down to: “Whose grace are we going to give, ours or Christ’s? We can extend God’s grace, because His grace is sufficient. Today, let God love through us even if we have to forgive 70 x 7!

Forgive Yourself

by Kim McDougal

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1 (NLT)

Have you done something you regretted?, or said something you wished you hadn’t? I’m sure we all have. While it’s very important to forgive others, it’s just as important to forgive yourself too. Christ said there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, but what does this really mean? Well, when we are truly sorry for our actions and we ask God to forgive us and to help us to go on, HE does. Simple as that. He doesn’t condemn you like, “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget!”, “You remember you did that two years ago?!….” He chooses to not remember your sin or mistake ever and He NEVER brings it back up and throws it in your face. Your job? You must do the same. Once God has forgiven you, now you forgive yourself. How? Choose just like God does.

If you want to live in peace and really be free, you and I MUST follow the examples of our Lord. With His Holy Spirit, care, kindness, presence, and power, we can do all things through Him even though within our own flesh we can’t. It is the Lord who gives us the power to live the way He wants us to. His words in the Bible are life to us. Remember this because, since we are imperfect beings, there will be times we fall short. When those times happen, we’ll know that God truly forgives and gives us the ability to truly forgive ourselves and go on. Today, if you’re feeling guilty or shame over anything you’ve done…tell God about it. Pour out your heart before Him and ask Him to help you use the power He’s already given you so that you forgive yourself. Don’t let your past mistakes eat you alive and keep you from living a full life. You can turn a new leaf starting today.