Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Gift of Forgiveness

A couple weeks ago we started discussing the controversies surrounding various Christmas celebrations and traditions; and how we, as Believers, must stop merely REACTING to the negative origins of December 25th and begin making a wise RESPONSE to this season.

We are offering at least Five Godly Responses to December 25th. 

So far we have presented two responses: 
#1: Become All Things to All Men from 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 (NKJV)
#2: Don’t cause your brother to stumble from 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 (NKJV)

This week we’re offering response #3 - Use the opportunity (holiday) to love, bless, do good and pray for your enemies, cursers, haters and persecutors. 

Many people are giving in to the pressure to buy gifts and they’re going to run up huge credit card bills to do it. Recently, we saw a celebrity on a talk show and he said the only thing he asked his family and friends to give him was a gift that doesn’t cost any money. So he simply asked for a letter, a poem, a song, a phone call, etc. It is truly amazing how one of the richest people in America has a request for the most important things in life. Meanwhile, many of the poorest people in America will try to spend money.

We plan to enjoy the holiday by spending time with one another. We are focusing on our relationships; even the relationships that are not doing so well. We encourage you to do the same.

In Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV), Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

This may seem radical, but we believe that we can use this holiday season as an opportunity to bless those who are our enemies. Jesus actually tells us to bless those who curse us. 

What a marvelous time to do something so completely unexpected that it truly personifies what it means to be a child of our Father in heaven. Just like HE provides sunshine and rain to evil and good people, we can express His goodness and mercy in a tangible way as well.

For many of us, we don’t have to think too hard to come up with a name or two of people whom we could bless in this way. Many people will be scrambling through shopping malls trying to find the perfect gift for someone who is very special to them. But what if we include in our lists, a couple of people who don’t like us very much?

In these harsh economic times, most urban dwellers don’t have very much money for purchasing gifts and Christmas has become more of a burden of obligation than a time of blessing. However, we encourage you to consider those who spitefully used you or even persecuted you. It might be something as simple as sending a Christmas card or extending an invitation to dinner.

One year the Holy Spirit showed me that I had buried unforgiveness regarding a childhood bully. Just mentioning his name brought up old feelings of anger and resentment. So the Lord impressed upon me to start the cleansing process by sending a Christmas card with a letter. It was to be the first step in blessing someone who persecuted me long ago.

What names and faces come into your thoughts as you consider this Godly response? Don’t hesitate. Take advantage of this Christmas season to respond like a child of God. Give the gift of forgiveness.

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy your family!

Chris and Carol Green have been called under-the-radar leaders in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified professional life coaches who founded C and C Connections, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that specializes in equipping leaders in the principles of CARE (Compassionate Awareness with Respect and Empathy); and the Fruitful Life Learning Community, a unique merging of a life-development church with home groups, house churches, ministers and outreach ministries.