weekly theme #46 Beyond Forgiveness*
week containing the Sunday between September 11-17
The theme for this week intrigued me. What does it mean, “Beyond Forgiveness”? Here’s my first idea. After people and God forgive me, I must decide how this forgiveness will change me. How will my life be altered so this same forgiveness is not required tomorrow? Temptation will come, but how can I lessen its attractiveness and increase my resolve? Frequently aligning myself with God’s Spirit seems critical. I must repeatedly pledge my allegiance to God. God will shield me from evil’s attacks with a “wall” of protection, but I must resist the temptation to open the gate out of curiosity else evil will seep in the gap. Beyond forgiveness is the need for full devotion and cooperation with God.
Beyond forgiveness, a new path lies before me that was near all the time, but I was blind to it. The Lord leads me in this path and teaches me, if I will be humble enough to learn. My pride makes me so stubborn, so arrogant that I think it is others, not me, who are in the greatest need of Jesus’ guidance. No wonder I stumble and fall. From my experience, walking this path of holiness is only temporary. It seems odd. When I am on the right path, walking with God, I can’t imagine straying off of it. Then, after a time, I seem to awake from a spiritual sleep and find myself off the path. My response depends upon whether I’m only slightly off or lost in the wilderness, but the solution is always the same. I cry out to God, and he leads me back to the path he has prepared for me. For beyond forgiveness is more forgiveness.
Moses told the descendents of Jacob that God wanted them to witness the awesome power of the Lord. He added, “…let your fear of him keep you from sinning.” In Romans 14 Paul talks about living righteously out of love for God and others. Two different motives, but both with the intent of living a life aligned with God’s will. I’ve lived with both motivations, and I think I still do. In either case, beyond forgiveness is the opportunity for a more godly life. Thank God!
Beyond forgiveness is oneness and peace. Jesus’ sacrifice on behalf of all people allows us to look beyond our differences and live in harmony with one another – not unison, harmony. Each, in our uniqueness, is valued in the family of God. I long for the time when differences without strife are the norm.
Forgiveness provides a chance to change, even restart anew. God can redeem me – let me live my life to full value. Beyond forgiveness is the potential for a redeemed life.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.