Posted on: 13th May 2019
“For if you forgive others their sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
As a parent, I sometimes feel I should know more than I do, especially after having three children and the oldest being fourteen. But I don’t. Here is my top mistake – I ask my children what they think, when actually I know their choice is going to be wrong, or unattainable. For example, “What would you like for tea?” should have been, “Beans on toast or soup?” You know full well that when asked what they wanted, those two options were not top of the list.
Looking back at the children of Israel’s choice in Deuteronomy 30:15, I should have learned how to set a question. “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Really! Was that an actual choice? What would you choose? Have a look at the rest of the story to find out about the choice they made.
Fast forward to the new testament, the Lord’s prayer. Jesus asks us the question “Will you forgive others?”.
I can think of lots of examples of situations that seem to be unforgiveable. This is especially true when the person who has done the wrong shows no remorse or isn’t feeling sorry for their actions. How can you forgive someone who is not sorry? How could the people of Rwanda forgive their neighbours who killed their loved ones, just because they were form a different ethnic group?
But Jesus’ question about forgiveness didn’t really have a choice. Your forgiveness by God is directly affected by your willingness to forgive others. The consequences of not forgiving are not worth considering, but the blessing of forgiving others and being forgiven by God, makes forgiveness the only option.
My challenge this week is that you will find the ability and courage to deal with any forgiveness you may need in your life. If this is too difficult for you to face alone, find someone you trust and talk about it with them. It may be that you are the one wronged, or you may be the one who needs to say sorry.
Posted on: 22nd October 2018
“Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.”
Remember. That was the word that Moses shared with the people of Israel after he came down from the mountain. He had been in God’s presence and was sharing with them the standard that God had set.
What do you think of when someone talks about rules? I love listening to my children playing games. Some games are easier to play than others, because they have less rules. Hide and seek is easy – everyone hides, somebody seeks. The only issue arises when you have to decide what you have to count to before you can begin to search. But it is the made up games that cause the trouble, because no one knows the rules and therefore anyone is free to suggest an improvement to the game. We started car journeys looking for yellow cars. We now count cheese on wheels, minis and soft tops! The rules continue to grow.
Re-reading the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy 5, I am reminded again at the sense and purpose of the law. I was brought up ‘having’ to rest on a Sunday. This felt like I was restricted from doing what I normally do. But the law was set to bring freedom. There was a period in the history of the children of Israel that ‘choosing’ to rest was never an option. Imagine the luxury for a slave to be able to have a day off every week! Maybe this week is a chance for you to take a rule that has been set and see the freedom it brings.
We have been considering respect this half term. My prayer is that, as you reflect on the devotions and scriptures we have looked at, that you challenge yourself to respond positively. Respect is not a list of rules that we expect everyone to keep. It is an attitude that we pray that all will choose. Respect can result in different responses to different people. Will you listen to something that has been said and obey?