Formations lesson for June 20: Worship Unites Us : Friday, May 28, 2004
May 28 2004 by Linda Jones

Formations lesson for June 20: Worship Unites Us : Friday, May 28, 2004
Friday, May 28, 2004

Formations lesson for June 20: Worship Unites Us

By Linda Jones
Focal Passage: Psalm 133

There's nothing like family. I just returned from my daughter's college graduation. Eighteen of us from all over the country gathered to celebrate her accomplishment.

I have another family that is dear to my heart - my small group. They are as much my family as my relatives. Living our lives in community for the last two years has enriched us, encouraged us and "provoked us to love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24). We have shared each other's journeys through life and because we care deeply, we have confronted each other. We have also offended and hurt each other. Forgiveness has been an essential element in our unity.

God loves harmony

God has a standard of living that He would like us to follow: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave Himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to Him" (Eph. 4:31-5:2).

However, as humans, we are like Paul who said, "It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong (Rom. 7:21).

God may love unity and harmony, but often conflict or hurt feelings occur, and we are called to forgive one another just as Christ forgave us.

In his book, Forgiveness, Charles Stanley writes that three elements are essential to the process of forgiving: an injury, a debt resulting from the injury and a cancellation of the debt. The act of forgiving requires that we look honestly at our injury, how it has affected us in the past and how it may continue to affect us in the future.

In Making Peace with your Past, Tim Sledge shares that forgiving is not forgetting. We will remember but we can choose to move on in our thoughts. It does not mean that the other person was right. You can forgive someone even if what he did was wrong. It does not mean that all the pain vanishes instantly. Healing takes time.

What forgiveness means

Forgiveness does mean that you no longer look at the other person as owing you. Forgiveness means you are more interested in moving ahead with your life than in being controlled by the past.

Corrie Ten Boom wrote: "It was at a church service in Munich that I first saw him, the former SS man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck, He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there - the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing. He came up to me. 'How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,' he said. 'To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away.' His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus had died for this man: was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. So again I breathed a silent prayer. 'Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.' As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me."

When God tells us to forgive, He gives, along with the command, the love itself - the power to forgive.
5/28/2004 12:00:00 AM by Linda Jones | with 0 comments

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