God is Taking Us Deeper
Over the last two weeks God has drawn us deeper. Dawn, Hannah and I have been going through a workshop on Keys to a Transformed Life. What’s made it extra special was that we were able to take our missionary colleagues Peter & Jenny Boling and Jim DeWitt. Four pastors from Tijuana and four church leaders from Ensenada also went with us.
2 Keys – Forgiveness & Repentance
Two of the keys we spent a lot of time focusing on were forgiveness and repentance. These are bedrock Christian disciplines. On the one hand, they are very basic to our faith. On the other hand, we often struggle to put them in practice.
We don’t like to admit that we are wrong. Our pride gets in the way. Yet forgiveness and repentance bring healing. God’s grace meets us at our place of weakness.
Luther said that all of life is repentance.
The Benefits of Confession
James speaks of the benefits of confession, even confessing to one another. A Christian practice that has mostly been lost on the church today.
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:15-16 ESV)
I can’t say that it is easy to open up and share about areas where we are wounded, but it is freeing when accompanied with forgiveness and repentance.
Turn to the father. He promises to remove our sin as far as the east is from the west. Learn of the father’s love for you.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he removes our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:8-13 ESV)
It’s all part of the upside down kingdom. Where we see a flaunting of sin in the world, God calls us to repent. In many ways that word, repent, seems old an antiquated today. It sounds harsh, and yet it is what the Lord chooses to bring us healing and wholeness. God ministers to us through confession and repentance.
Also when we are willing to forgive those who have wronged us, we receive God’s healing touch. It is freeing to forgive. Jesus taught us to pray asking our Heavenly Father, “to forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.… For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:12, 14, 15)
That may be a hard passage, but it’s a wonderful promise. Forgiveness is an amazing gift that the Lord offers us. Come and receive his many gifts!
In His Grip, Dave