Forgiveness browsing by tag


August 17

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9 (ESV)

While many are quick to condemn lying, stealing, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality-you know…the so-called “big sins”- a pass is often given to another devastating and life-ruining sin: GOSSIP. I’m thinking more lives have been ruined by gossip than possibly all the others combined.

No, I’m not downgrading the severity of the so-called “big sins” in relation to a soul, but gossip is carried on regularly with seemingly no guilt.

The proverb above can be looked at two ways. One, it could involve me and another person. If someone does something to me, I could either choose to love and forgive, or spread to others what has been done. That other person and I will likely never again be close friends (if friends at all). 

Or two, I could be a witness to someone being hurt and spread the event with my tainted opinion. Again, instead of being one who helps others reconcile, I become the one who splits them.

James tells us the tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) We can talk about swearing and cursing, but gossip may be the cruelest of all.

Go by this: if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. Keep the gossip to yourself.

August 10

Thursday, August 10th, 2023

Recently, I witnessed a healing. No, not the kind you are probably thinking (although I wish I could in this case). Here’s the story:

In the past, Person B listened to the voices of others and told me to leave Person A as a friend and as a pastor.  He then turned his “guns” on Person A. He continued listening to the voices and sought changes which did not happen. A resignation happened and the “guns” were taken up by another. Meanwhile one of the voices was pretty much out of the picture. Again, changes didn’t happen and another abandonment happened.

In the meantime, Person B has come on hard physical times. Devastating actually. As Person B’s pastor, I made the conscious decision to forgive and made countless visits-many of them hours away-to minister and to bring healing. I truly believe God has been faithful in bringing the latter.

But what about Person A?

I make weekly visits to Person B to encourage, to pray, to laugh with, to offer communion (something he misses since we offer it weekly), and to share the amazing healing power of God in a relationship. My love for Person B and his family is real and I want them to know that.  I want him to know that.  In my visits I sometimes take others, friends from his past, to visit and hopefully encourage and let him know he is not forgotten. And to offer hope. I decided-with the wife’s blessing-to bring Person A with me some day. I saw God work!! Now, whether Person B even remembered the past I don’t know-such is his memory. But I saw Person A engage with Person B and his wife and offer some vital help where they have been stymied before.  What a phenomenal gift it would be if Person A can pull off the help he has offered!! I can’t speak for Person B’s feelings, although he did get emotional when Person A told him that he and his wife were praying for him. Person B’s wife, I think, was simply relieved someone was going to do something.

Mention healing and our immediate thoughts go to someone physically healed. Rarely do we think of emotional healing or relational healing. I witnessed both, especially in Person A. Personally? I think being witness to the relational healing does more good to my soul than all the physical healings I have seen God do (and I’m not speaking of the showy, TV, made up kind).

Somewhere angels were rejoicing, and the Father was smiling, as they witnessed “Forgive as you have been forgiven” come alive. I know I am.

July 27

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

We often use as a rule of thumb the old adage called The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That is a good ruler to use…


What do you do with those who continually mistreat, continually belittle, continually demean, continually malign, and basically make your life miserable? What then?

I’m not one who feels one should continually be stepped on, stepped over, or discarded. Admittedly, it does take a lot to get me to the point of “blowing their doors off” but that is another story for another time. There are just some people, though, who seem to be happiest then they are miserably making others’ lives that way. They complain about every little thing. They put down others’ efforts  as maybe being inadequate, or misguided. No one does it quite right (least to their specifications).  Too little experience. Things aren’t quite straight enough, spectacular enough, creative enough…you get the picture.

If you are like me, you get tired of the grumbling. the judging; the “it’s not good enough;” or the like. It calls for you to either walk away, or ignore, become like them, or…

…you show them extra grace. There are just some people who require it. Instead of joining their club or ignoring their club, why not try to find the source of their attitude or sour disposition?  Maybe they are suffering some trauma? Maybe they have stuff going on that makes it feel like there is a vice on their heart or head. While it is never easy showing extra grace, Proverbs 25:21-22 is true: “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head…”  (NASB2020)

Be an extra grace-giving person if you can. You never know whose life you can help make a difference in.

{Note: I know there is more to this topic and it can be much more complicated. This is just surface talk. Let me just say this: do not allow their attitude to determine yours and the way they treat others (or you) to determine how you do.}

June 27

Tuesday, June 27th, 2023

Scenario #1: A man or woman is arrested for preaching or teaching, i.e. proselytizing. He or she is thrown into prison and on a daily basis is beaten or punished until he/she recants.

Scenario #2: A man or woman goes to work each day simply to do his/her job and do it well. That’s it. He/she doesn’t go there to be a troublemaker or to show anyone up; get a promotion; or to condemn. But their Christian faith is evident in how they do their job. But there is one co-worker who seems to have one mission: make life miserable for that person.

Scenario #3: A high school student excels in sports or academics or both. This student is motivated, not by a desire to prove he or she is the best, but by his/her love for Jesus to simply do their best in all things. But one student, one teammate takes offense, perhaps out of jealousy, or perhaps vindictiveness, to make life miserable by spreading lies or maybe getting “physical” in sports or in the classroom.

Scenario #4: A self-proclaimed “religious overlord” determines he, and he only, knows what is right and wrong. He makes an effort to oust the pastor or a teacher or a member because he/she is the self-proclaimed “church police of correct thinking.” That person leaves because they fail to get their way, but then returns one day expecting all to be forgiven and forgotten, even extending a hand to the one they policed. The motive for that extended hand is questionable.

In all four scenarios, there is a victim and a perpetrator. In all four scenarios the victim reacts differently than expected. Proverbs 25:21-22 tells us why: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is  thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

Showing kindness in the face of persecution, torment, ridicule, slander, or extreme hurt and betrayal, is counterintuitive to the way society operates. But not in the way God’s economy works. Peter tells us that Jesus was persecuted, tormented, and beaten but He didn’t open His mouth (I Peter 2:21-23).

Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s trust Him to make all things new and right. Let’s trust Him to give us the strength, and if things don’t get better, to follow in His steps. Let’s be “burning coal stackers.”

June 20

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

I read these words this morning: “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”  (Psalm 32:3-5)

One of the things which plagues many people-vexes them may be an even better word-is the failure to find forgiveness. It’s not from another person refusing for forgive. It’s not even from me refusing to forgive another. It is something much deeper, even more devastating.

It is the failure of me to forgive me. And that isn’t from me not realizing I have sinned. I think I’m pretty aware of when I do. No…the problem is my failure to acknowledge it and take it to God to receive His forgiveness.

David’s scenario in Psalm 32 is his awareness of his sin, but trying to hide it, especially from the eye of God. “For when I kept silent” says a lot. It is a refusal to acknowledge it; to speak it; and to be honest.

But there is a consequence from that failure and David says so. That next phrase sums it up: “My bones wasted away through my groaning all day long…my strength dried up as the heat of the summer.” David is saying, “Make no mistake. The failure to acknowledge sin; the failure to confess it; the failure to speak truth will cause one’s spirit to dry up. The body rebels. The spirit revolts. The consequences are pronounced.

But don’t lose sight of what happens when we do acknowledge and confess it. That last phrase is like a diamond in a sea of mud: “You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” There is new life, new hope, a fresh outlook, and a renewed spirit that results from confession of sin.

Don’t harbor sin. Don’t try to hide it. Don’t kid yourself into thinking there are no consequences. The consequences aren’t worth it. Confess it and know freedom.

April 20

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

There is a lot of talk these days, and has been over the past few years, about slavery. Granted, slavery was and in some cases still is a blight on humanity, but for all the talk about slavery, there is a slavery far worse.

Far worse than the slavery of history? Yes.

Far worse than the slavery of sex trafficking? Yes.

It’s the slavery of heart and mind so many find themselves in. Let me explain. I was texting with someone recently who is doing a Bible study on a Bible character of a not-so-good reputation. Culturally, women were treated with disdain (unless they could bear a male child). They were seen as a possession, like cattle to be bought and sold. Property to be used, not people to be loved and valued. (That is a general statement. There were exceptions).

Along comes Jesus. He changes everything. Friends with Mary and Martha (and their brother, Lazarus).  He healed a women who had an issue of blood, one who had spent all she had on doctors (sound familiar?) with no cure. He was kind to the woman at the well in John 4.  He resisted the religious leaders in their  treatment of the woman caught in adultery (where was the man by the way?) in John 8.

The slavery of history is bad; it is wrong. But a greater, more devastating slavery is the one of the heart and mind. As I was texting with this individual, I spoke about the slavery of being bitter and unforgiving, of allowing another person to occupy space in our minds, and ultimately, the heart. If I/you can allow the mere mention or sight of that person to conjure up feelings of anger and even hatred, they are not the one hurt by that…WE. ARE!! To put it bluntly: they. own. us. They are living rent-free in our minds and don’t even know it. But we do. Our stomach does. Our emotions do.  Even our sleep does.

For the Christ-follower it is a bit more devastating, a double whammy so to speak. It will eat us up inside. It will also hinder our prayer life. It will hinder our worship. In short, it will hinder our relationship with God because there will be an obstacle, a barrier, that is always around. It is like a fence is around our heart.

There is a reason the Bible says, “Get rid of all hatred and bitterness.” (Eph. 4:31) and “do not allow a root of bitterness to spring up.” (Heb.12:15) 

You can choose to be free or to be someone’s slave.

March 14

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023
  1. May I make a confession to you? You are saying, “Yes, of course. Let’s have the dirt.”

Sorry. You are going to hear dirt, but nothing that you haven’t heard from thousands of others. Here it is:


Not that you will ever see it. No siree. You’re crazy if you think I’m going to show it. But trust me: I’m a mess.

And so are you.

Now you are probably thinking, “Speak for yourself bub.” But, please, hear me out.

There is a story I suspect many of you have heard or read.  It is the story of a tapestry-a beautiful, fine-looking piece of art. Every piece in place. Every stitch, every strand of yarn is right where it needs to be. Now…turn it over. What do you see?  A mess. Yarn, string, fabric going everywhere in one big, tangled mess.

Now, turn it back over. Chaos to sublime. Chaos to order. Ugly to beauty.

So yes, I am a mess. Inside me is chaos, a real jumble of wires. It is called and made worse by sin. I know this verse is overused, sometimes misused, and sometimes nothing more than a picture on a wall or some “Jesus junk” (as Keith Green used to call it), but the words ring true: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” To get the real strength of that verse you MUST read the ones which follow. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  (Jer.29:11-13) (ESV)

The real truth is that God does bring order out of chaos. He does take messed up, tangled lives and makes them something beautiful. A song from years ago said, “He makes beauty from ashes.”

Let Him take your mess and your chaos and replace it with order and beauty.

March 1

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

I hear a lot of different words and thoughts expressed at a funeral. I hear “Man, he loved well. He love Jesus. He loved people. He loved his/her family.” I might hear “He/she was a person of integrity” or “a person who had such a kind heart.” Words of love, appreciation, and thanksgiving.

But the saddest words I hear are not “I’m going to miss him/her” (although they do make my heart hurt), or “I have a hole in my heart.” No, the saddest words are two: “If only.”

They are words of regret. “If only I had told him/her I love them more often.” “if only I had gone to visit them like I wanted to.” “If only I hadn’t forgotten.” “If only I hadn’t been so busy/preoccupied.” The “if onlys” could go on.

As I said, they are words of regret. One last visit never happened. One last act of kindness goes undone. One last word of affection goes unsaid.

In Matthew 26 there is a story of a lady who understood what Jesus was saying about His imminent death. She may have been the only one in the room who did. She took a jar of very expensive perfume (I’ve heard estimates of its worth being about $25,000 in today’s currency) and poured it on His head.  When protests were made, Jesus rebuked them and said, “This woman has done a beautiful thing.” You see…she understood there was no waiting.  There would be no “if only.”

How about you? Is there something you need to say to or is there something you need to do for someone? Is there someone you need to go see? Is there someone with whom you need to reconcile or at least try to repair a relationship? Why wait? Why allow “if only” even the remotest possibility to be part of your vocabulary?

Now. Now is the time. Avoid the “if only.”

January 17

Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

I could be wrong but I think one of the hardest things followers of Christ have trouble with is knowing AND REMEMBERING that God’s grace is good for all time. I mean, we will relish God’s forgiving grace when we initially come to Jesus for salvation and be grateful for that grace. We will appreciate His forgiving grace when we mess up big time and see how important it is.


But often we forget that forgiving grace in the harsh reality of life. For example, consequences. We want to accept God’s forgiving grace, but we kinda sorta expect the consequences to be erased too.

Or the other end happens. We can’t totally forgive ourselves. Yes, I accept God’s forgiveness. Yes, I have (if necessary) gone to that other person seeking forgiveness. But applying grace to ourselves and to our own ongoing battle within…now that’s another story.

What we must realize is that God’s past grace to us is also God’s present grace. And it will be a future grace. Past grace allows us to see God’s work in our life. And we cherish that work. But it is also important to see God’s present grace at work in us. Yes, we were made new, forgiven of everything (or that “big one”). But God’s grace doesn’t stop with that initial work in us.

God’s grace is at work within us, daily remaking us into the likeness of Christ. Don’t just leave grace as an act of the past. See grace as an act of the present-forgiving and setting us free.

Do yourself a favor: Take a moment and read Romans 8:31-34. You will be glad you did.

January 3

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

I read this morning in Our Daily Bread about how some volunteers from a rescue organization in Australia found a wandering sheep weighed down by more than 75 pounds of filthy, matted wool.  They figured it had been forgotten and lost in the bush for at least 5 years. They were able to sheer it and soon the sheep (named Baarack) began to eat and his legs grew stronger. It thrived in the environment of his rescuers and the other animals.

It started me thinking about people, about how so many are weighed down by excess weight (not physical) and baggage. Some of it is simply the cares of life. Some of it is baggage of their own making from their past.

I’m reminded of a song (click here). It says, “I’m no longer a slave to fear/I am a child of God.”  There are way too many people who are slaves to fear, shame, unconfessed sin, regret, and a whole host of other baggage.

Just like Baarack needed his rescuers to slowly sheer away his excessive weight of tangled, matted wool, so do many of us. God, through His Spirit, sets us free. He desires to make us new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). His Word tells us that “he whom the Son has set free is free indeed.”

Are you carrying excess baggage these days? Are you weighed down by sin and shame and regret? Be sheered and let God’s Spirit set you free.