Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Gift to All

It is my personal belief that the greatest gift we have ever received is our freedom...but which freedom? The freedom of speech? The freedom of religion? The freedom of press? Freedom from oppression? Well, while those are all very important freedoms and we are truly blessed to possess each of those in this country, the freedom I have in mind is much more universal...and much more spectacular...our freedom from sin. The Lord, in His astounding mercy, has freed all of us who have faith in Him from our sins...forever. How awesome is that?!? At The Sisterhood on Sunday, the girls and I discussed the Lord's infinite grace. He has forgiven us for all kinds of sins...big ones, small ones, repetitive ones. He forgives us completely each time. Not only that, but the Lord actually forgives AND forgets. He doesn't keep score...he doesn't keep track...because if He did, none of us would measure up. In Soul Sister by Beth Redman, the author points out that we needn't feel ashamed and beat ourselves up over the mistakes of our past. If the Lord has forgiven us for it, then it's been erased from our record. Jesus signed his name to your sin and allowed you to go free...free from punishment...free from guilt...free from labels. It's remarkable. We need to remember just how marvelous it is to be freed from our sins...and we need to help to set others free as well. As Christians, we are called to be like Christ and forgive others, no matter how many times they hurt us. It's a hard thing to do, but think of all the hurts we've caused our Lord. Each and everyone of us have sinned over and over again...we are the reason that He died...yet, He forgave us. If we don't forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ...if we don't forgive our neighbors, we leave them pinned under their sins...bound to despair...We are not being merciful like our Lord and Saviour was to us. Not only can this stunt the growth of that person's faith and maturity, it can harm us as well. Unforgiveness can lead to gossip, grudges, bitterness, hatred, and revenge...It is easy to become controlled by the sins that have been committed against us, to be absorbed in the thought of them, to dwell on them instead of dwelling on the mercy of our Lord. "Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8) We need to live like Christ and share with others the amazing grace that we have received. Give a gift to your friends, this week and everyday of your life...give them the gift of freedom...the ultimate freedom. "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

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