Chuck Colson in his book, 'Being the Body', recalls a supernatural act of forgiveness. Rusty had brutally killed several people and sat on death row. While awaiting his fate, Rusty became a Christian and immediately began to grow in Christ. He sent letters to the families of his victims, apologizing for his actions and asking their forgiveness. About a year later, one of the families arranged to visit with him. Imagine the tension as Rusty faced the family of one of the victims.
Rusty was surprised when the father said, "For years I hated you. But when I came to understand that Christ has forgiven me of all my sins, I knew I had no choice but to forgive you. We're here today to let you know that we forgive you."
Dear readers, that is not natural. That is supernatural - the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. It is a spirit that is distinct to Christianity - the willingness to forgive others that do not deserve our forgiveness at all. That's exactly what God does for us. He forgives us through the cross even though we are completely undeserving. When we have the blessing of the Holy Spirit, our hearts soften and we are willing to forget and forgive others.
When the Holy Spirit resides within us, it brings us peace with God. And this peace gives us a desire to be at peace with others - through forgiveness.
Colossians 3:13-15 is a meaningful and timely passage from the Bible:
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Let us pray for all our friends for the intervention of the Holy Spirit - for their hearts to soften, to practice forgiveness and to be at peace with others - ultimately be united as one.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
The eighth beatitude says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called ‘children of God'.”
All of us, we love to enjoy and experience peace. The reason we take time off from work or go for vacation is to get away from the regular pressure of life and to meet someone different than our regular friends and family. We just love that atmosphere. We would almost do anything to avoid any disharmony, controversy, or make anyone unhappy. We are peace lovers. Staying away from places or people to avoid any conflict puts us in the category of peace lovers.
Peace means the serenity quietness, tranquility, or absence of conflict. The biblical meaning of peace is connected closer to the word Shalom - everything which makes for a person's highest good. During the Sunday service, the celebrant wishes Shalom - may you have all that is good and best for you. Peace makers are those who bring out the best out of individuals, families, society, and ultimately the nation. They are the ones who are called, 'Children of God.'
Children of God are those having similar qualities that of God. We should note that peacemaking is a characteristic of God, and when we perform that act, we are reflecting the nature of God Himself. Whenever and wherever we take up the role of a peacemaker, we are working for God and we have his backing.
For the past many days, I've been dedicating my time and praying hard for the unity and peace of our church. I should admit that God is working miraculously and opening up numerous doors towards this cause. Please join me in the process of peacemaking and let's reflect the nature of goodness within ourselves to bring blessings to our people.