Prayer And Thoughts For Shut-Ins
Christians need to remember to pray for those friends and acquaintances with illness that confines them at home, and for their Care-givers. As we were recently reminded by Praise And Prayer Alert: we should make a time to at least call those associated with our church fellowship to see how they are doing; keep them updated on events they might like to know about; offer to run a few errands for them; maybe offer to stay with a shut-in so their Care-giver might get time to go somewhere; etc.. There are many dear ones among us and everywhere, who are suffering diseases such as cancer, heart problems, MS, Parkinsons, mental problems, etc. God expects us to show care for these. They must not be neglected. [adapted from Praise & Prayer Alert]
SOME THOUGHTS ON CHRISTIAN FORGIVENESS
There appears to be personal forgiveness and administrative forgiveness on man's part in the Word of God. The first refers to offenses against us by others, which we might forgive. The administrative forgiveness seems to be that which is done before God when we cancel the debt. The Christian assembly also does that when judging the matter of an offending believer, seeing repentance, and then effecting restoration to the fellowship (Matt.18:18). We can then all accept that, and it is not now saying it is good, rather putting it away and refuse to regard it.
The word "forgiveness" is difficult at best. The dictionary says forgiveness is to grant pardon or cancel debt, and is to cease to feel anger. It is often full or uttermost giving before merited. Are we in a position to cancel a debt or pardon? Are we able to stop feeling resentment? Is there a reason or justification for it? The reason might be mercy on some to see them free from judgment to change for good, and to win them to God, or because there is reasonable doubt whether the offense was intentional or not. Some considerations are as follows:
1. God forgives individual sinners who repent so we can be saved; and our Lord on the cross forgave all mankind for the crucifixion, saying: "they know not what they do". He canceled the debt for the world, lest God should destroy all men;
2. Individuals need to seek forgiveness and accept God's sacrifice for their own sinfulness ---own the sin and the mercy. Men might choose to receive the gift of forgiveness or not. The gift is not theirs until they desire it and receive it.
3. In the Gospels Jesus tells the Jews that they need to forgive their enemies and not hold to "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" (revenge). The Lord tells them they need to be rid of that attitude and be willing to for-give ---give understanding of what sin is, and overlook their enemies' behavior...not kill them. That is administrative forgiveness in cancelling the debt. In a sense this is the same as saying “they know not what they do"; and are acting in flesh and a sense of self-righteousness.
4. A faithful servant of God should emulate the Lord Jesus in not retaliating. One should not pursue vengeance ---"vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:17-21). Certainly a child of God can leave it with his Father, and minister good for a witness. In this, one forgives in a practical way and ceases to feel resentment.
5. The Christian should realize that the evil received was from the sinful nature of man, or by the fleshly act of another believer, and know that "but for the grace of God, there go I". Certainly we can always pray for one's soul. A Christian has a new nature, though always has the flesh which likes to act. We see also that God forgives and restores a believer who sins, when he humbles himself and confesses it (I Jn.1:9), for God knows the result of sin in man.
6. We need to consider the heart and know the power and ugliness of sin, and leave all evil and failures against us with the Lord rather than take actions. If the offender asks forgiveness ---well; if not, it is of no profit to dwell on the matter. One can avoid or minimize contact with the offender thereafter if it is defiling or unprofitable, as we do with all people everywhere.
7. It is important also to understand that a believer cannot forgive one for offenses to another; only the victim can do that. Our responsibility concerns ourselves, and we might say: I am not the avenger.
8. Our forgiveness is a general term, which might be looked at in at least four aspects, and remembered as a ROAD of forgiveness:
A. Forgiveness in RESTORING relationship for one who repents and begs mercy and recovery.
B. Forgiveness in OVERLOOKING a certain matter, as inconsequential and only man's flesh, which we all have (see Col.3:13). It then remains only a matter between the offender and God;
C. Forgiveness in ABSOLVING an offender, by disregarding the loss which one may not be able to pay (Matt.18:26-27). It is grace and often a practical matter, and God can make up the difference;
D. Forgiveness in DEFERRING to God and others, and getting on with life. God will then heal and take care of His own children.
Will we walk this ROAD? - R. L. DeWitt, rev. 11/05; rev. 04/11