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Nothing Is Automatic

July 23, 2012

Greetings,

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  Colossians 3: 12-14

Choosing to follow Jesus begins the process of us becoming a true child of God (John 1: 12).  There is nothing automatic about becoming more like Him.  We could never save ourselves, but it is up to us whether or not we grow in grace and knowledge beyond mere salvation.  Virtues like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are found in us only as we choose to grow and mature in the things of God. 

The Holy Spirit is always there to equip us with these desirable traits, but we must actively choose them to be at work in us.  In other words we must surrender to putting on these virtues moment by moment as they are needed in our daily lives.  It is only then that we can respond to the needs of others with grace, truth and love.

It is also true that we need to learn how to walk in forgiveness towards everyone, including ourselves.  It took me years to forgive my father for sexually, physically, and verbally abusing me as a child.  However, when forgiveness came it freed me up to live and love in ways not possible before I forgave.  On my own forgiving such offenses was impossible, but when I surrendered it all to God, His Spirit gave me the ability to truly forgive and finally move forward in my life.  

Some people, even Christ followers, say they cannot forgive those who sinned against them unless the sinner repents and apologizes.  That kind of thinking keeps the offended party from truly experiencing His grace and inhibits them from moving forward in many areas of their life.  Forgiving others does not excuse their sin or let them off the hook with God.  Everyone has to stand before judgement someday, forgiven or not.  In fact forgiving our offenders many times does nothing for them, but what it does do is set us free and it allows us to move forward in the faith and life in general.  My father went to the grave totally denying the things he did to me, my mother and others.

Having virtues is all good and fine, but they amount to nothing without love.  Love covers a multitude of sins and it binds all things together in perfect unity.  Love like everything else is not automatic in this life.  We have to choose moment by moment to walk in love.  None of this is easy.  No one, including Jesus, ever said it would be.  However, if we surrender our hearts and minds to His love and faithfulness amazing things can happen.  With all I have been through since childhood, I am a walking miracle.  When I surrender to His grace and love I do more than just survive… I thrive.   I totally believe that anyone who loves and serves Him can be a walking miracle too.  We just need to clothe ourselves with His virtues each and everyday.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

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6 Comments
  1. Good word. I struggle with getting to the place of love with a few people in my life who have (and continue to) hurt me. Most days I do alright keeping my mind focused on things that are beautiful and good and right. But, on those days when I seem to fall into a dark hole, I know that God and my friends are there to put a hand down and help pull me out. Thanks for the reminder. I hope all is well with you and I sure wish we could have caught up when you were here.

  2. Reformed by the Spirit permalink

    This is a hard message. Yet, it is full of truth…truth that is at the most basic level to understand. It is actually simple obedience…and at the same time, probably the hardest thing to do for many.

    I can forgive, but it becomes more and more difficult when I forgive and then the person commits the same offense right away…and continually. It wears my heart down and I become bitter from the exhaustion of letting it go and being hit again, and again, and again….

  3. This is all so true and such a growing thing. I am being shown at present that as I choose to sow love and forgiveness instead of fear toward the things I have been phobic about, the love is flowing and casting out the fear. Now this might sound like something very simple but I can tell you it has taken me a lot of years to understand that the ‘perfect love that castes out fear’ can flow out from me. I always understood it as something I would receive, which is also true, but I am finding that it is so powerful when I choose to walk in love and forgiveness. As I walk in choosing forgiveness and love, God is pouring out His love and forgiveness back into me

  4. Martin permalink

    To forgive someone you need to experience ( read know) the full extent of the damage that was done to you. Forgiving someone before that is only pretense. It’s true, as you say though, that that active of non-forgiveness is only really damaging to the victim, and binds them up in anger forever. I just think asking someone to forgive too early- before they are ready- is damaging to them.

  5. Martin permalink

    To forgive someone you need to experience ( read know) the full extent of the damage that was done to you. Forgiving someone before that is only pretense. It’s true, as you say though, that that act of non-forgiveness is only really damaging to the victim, and binds them up in anger forever. I just think asking someone to forgive too early- before they are ready- is also
    damaging to them

  6. I read a small book on forgiveness once that was put out by the alcoholics anonomous people and it talked about the stages of forgiveness, hurting, hating and then letting go. As Martin said, there are definite stages to forgiveness

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