All posts tagged forgiveness

Too Many Words

“So, I’ve made Isaiah 30:15 my verse for the year.” ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength.’ I’m learning to be quiet and not offer my opinion when asked.” I looked at my adult son, Micah as he shoveled homemade salsa into his mouth.

“How long have you been doing that?”

“Eight months.”

He stopped mid-chip. “You’re kidding?”

So much for Scriptural application.

Just the day before, Mom’s caregiver was a no-show so I was caregiver of the day. I plastered a smile on my face and said cheerful words. By evening, I was worn out. I fell asleep before I administered Mom’s 10PM pills. Rousing, I took them in to her.

She wasn’t sure where she was and headed the wrong way to the bathroom. Again.

I turned her the correct way. “The bathroom is this way, Mom,” I said with teeth clenched.

She looked at me. “Hey, you’re kind of smart with me sometimes.”

So Sunday, when I heard a message about the words that we say, I was devastated.

I don’t know when I’ve ever been more convicted and sorrowful for my sin. My pastor taught on Matthew 12:33-37. The words Jesus spoke in verses 36-37 are the ones that sliced my soul:

“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.”

David Brady went on to say some believe sound waves may never disappear. “Think about that. Your words and my words never going away. Be careful with your words. Especially you parents. A parent might say something to their child when they are six or seven years old. Maybe they were angry and said something like, ‘You’ll never amount to anything!’ They forget about it, but their child carries those words with them the rest of their lives. Your words are weighty.”

I couldn’t stop crying. All my careless words spoken out of irritability, pride, selfishness, exhaustion–all still floating around. More than that, all known by my Savior.

I left early and went to the car. I knew my words had to change. Less of them. More value to them.

I texted my son and daughter my apologies for hurtful words I’d said to them in the past. I couldn’t talk to them on the phone because I couldn’t talk.

I sat on the edge of Mom’s bed.

“Last night, I was tired and you said I was mean to you, Mom. I’m sorry.”

Her face softened. “You can’t help what you say when you’re tired, Pauline.”

“Yes I can, Mom. I don’t want to speak to you like that again. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

All is forgiven. Probably not forgotten.

But, it’s a start.


Open Our Eyes

My new church meets in a school cafeteria. Fluorescent lights shine down on tidy round tables. About 60 of us gather to worship the Lord and fellowship together.

It’s bright. I can easily see the widows across the aisle as they worship. Behind me a family from the mountains sings God’s praises.  Often, Our pastor will have us look around at each other so we know who our brothers and sisters are. We’re held accountable to love them. Love exacts a price: service, compassion, exhortation.

The message on Sunday made me think about our little band of believers. How just as we can see each other clearly in our little lunchroom, Jesus sees all of us clearly–more clearly than we can see ourselves.

Part of Pastor Brady’s message on Sunday morning came from Matthew’s gospel, chapter 11:20-24:

“Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And you, Capernaum, will you not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.’”

My mind drifted to another scenario. What if Jesus were in our congregation that day. He might say, “Woe to Mt. Airy! Woe to you, New York! Woe to you, Los Angeles! ”

Funny how people like to quote Jesus when it comes to love and acceptance and compassion. True. The gospels are cholk-full of the tender deeds and words of our Lord. But listen to the first words spoken by Jesus in Mark’s gospel:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The re-occuring word is repent.

Repent basically means an about face. A turning.

In this case, Jesus meant to turn from your sins and turn to Him.

It’s not Jesus plus something or someone else. It’s not your way or my way at all.

He calls the shots. He’s the Creator and Sustainer.

I’ve repented. In fact, It’s a daily occurrence. And I’m forgiven. Thank God.

But what about you, friend?

What if you were sitting in our little lunchroom and Jesus looked at you. He can see clearly–right into your heart. He knows not only your actions, but your thoughts and your motives.

Think about that a while. Makes me shudder.

Jesus said to repent and believe the gospel so here it is:

God is holy. You are a sinner destined for judgment. God provided a way of escape through believing on His Son, Jesus Christ. Believing that He lived a perfect life, died a gruesome death, and rose from the grave to pay the penalty of your sin and my sin.

If you choose not to believe, I have one word for you.



Investing in Christmas, Day 10-Suffering Servant’s Humility

The sickest I ever was occurred as a result of getting old and not moving my shoulder enough. A “Frozen Shoulder” the medical community calls it. And it hurt. So bad, in fact that I had an out-patient operation on it. For four long months, I didn’t hardly sleep and tried desperately to make the pain go away.

Finally, it did. That’s about the worst suffering I’ve experienced. I still had the responsibilities of a family and job and caregiving. I resented the fact that others weren’t serving me.

So as far as being a suffering servant, I flunked.

Let’s look at a famous passage in Isaiah 42:2-3, “He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will  not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.” (NASB)

Commentators agree the Suffering Servant spoken about in Isaiah is Christ.

So what do those verses mean?

Basically that He would suffer silently and humbly.

Wow. Not like me.

But that’s just like Jesus. Born in a stable with animals. Father was a blue-collar workers.

Here’s another passage to look at:

“Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say.’ And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.” Matt. 27:11-14 (NASB)

Jesus wasn’t guilty of anything the chief priests accused Him of, yet he didn’t answer. He was on a mission.


So He kept silent.

One more passage for today found later in chapter 27:27-31:

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorian and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back to Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.”

That’s Divine humility. Strength under control.

To invest in Christmas this year, why not humble yourself? Anyone you need to ask for forgiveness? Anyone you need to forgive? Don’t let another day go by without getting things straight with that person.

Be like Jesus. Give up your rights.

It feels great.