GOOD SENSE

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

“Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” RSV

This month in our ONE ANOTHER series, we are considering FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER.

This hugely important relational command is crucial to enjoy fruitful relationships with each other and with Christ. However, there can be so many knock on effects and unfruitful outcomes if not dealt with biblically and in love.  My tendency, as I said in the last blog, is to stick my head in the sand; or pretend that big elephant is not in the room and I will just go on my merry way. But hey, that is NOT an option for me as a follower of Jesus Christ, and not honouring to God or the other persons involved in the conflict.

But on the other hand, a question came to me that I want to explore with you today.  Should I confront every offense that comes my way? Or should I overlook it? I can think back on a time in my younger life when I blew something way out of proportion when I should have let it go. Because of my pride and lack of maturity in handling it wisely, the situation was made worse and my witness for Christ was weakened.

Of course there are times of confrontation in the forgiveness process, but there are clearly times when offenses need to be dropped.

 Proverbs 19:11A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 12:16 “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”

Proverbs 20:3 “It is to one’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”

1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

So how do we know when to confront something or to let it go? It is only through soul searching with wisdom and discernment. Pray. Seek wise mature counsel. Allow God to help us see blind spots that we may have in the situation. Avoid gossip. Use good sense.  Let’s ask ourselves, “Am I turning a minor disagreement into a major dispute? Am I insisting on justice when I should overlook the matter? How important is it in God’s economy?

As followers of Christ, we can trust the Lord with our relationships.  Let’s pray for one another to be wise and discerning in this one anothering process. Let’s cling to the scripture for our guidance!colossians_3-12-14-137630

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

This month’s “one another study” is FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER. My gut reaction in one word descriptions?   Yikes. Really?  Tough. How?  Is it really possible?

Okay, that last description was four words. But in reality, I think we have all shared these thoughts and feelings about forgiving one another at one time or another. There is SO MUCH out there on this subject. There are many perspectives, many layers and levels of this complicated and far reaching subject.  Where to begin?

As followers of Christ, I think it is obvious where to begin…and where to end, for that matter. THE BIBLE.  Biblical forgiveness is our guide, our reliable standard, the TRUTH. It is God-breathed and the Holy Spirit will guide us through this daunting practice.

If we do not embrace biblical forgiveness, then the Gospel becomes diluted. A diluted or watered-down Gospel no longer has the same power, effectiveness, and life changing transformation it offers to those who believe.

So why might we not embrace biblical forgiveness? I think there are lots of reasons.  In a nutshell, it is our sinful hearts. We want to do life our own way. We want quick fixes or no fixes. We want to avoid the pain. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable or awkward. We just want to wallow in our self-justifications, self-righteousness and pride. We want to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that big, fat elephant is not in the room. (This is my favourite tendency) And, we are so easily swayed by worldly wisdom that it pushes biblical wisdom to the sidelines.  Do any of these reasons ring in your conscience?

So let’s think again of forgiving one another in one word.  The one word description that is the foundation for biblical forgiveness. He has captured my heart and life in this forgiving thing…….

JESUS.

Whew.  It may seem obvious to some. It may seem a bit platitudinal to others.  However, it is the truth and reality to those of us who profess to be followers of Christ. He is the remedy to all of life; and to forgiving one another. THE BOTTOM LINE. It is indeed a profound mystery, but a wondrous reality! Girls, we CAN love each other, we CAN encourage each other….because Jesus has poured out His love into our hearts and souls. And now, we can forgive one another; REALLY forgive from our hearts- because of Jesus who forgave US!

For our part, we must pray for one another to be teachable, to be willing for the Holy Spirit to change our hearts every day to be more like Christ. This is not easy, but it leads to LIFE.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU THIS MONTH is to begin to think and ponder this HUGE one anothering command-personally, in your family, in your circle of friends, in our church family.  Take some time to write down your thoughts in your quiet time-observations, questions, feelings.  It can be very personal or can be general; no right or wrong-just between you and our Lord.  Talk to God about it out loud.  Lay it at the foot of the cross.

I will do the same. Let’s see what God does this month. He is a God of surprises and desires the BEST for us.  I am praying for you and for me this week that we won’t water down the Gospel, but that we will embrace the Gospel in biblical forgiveness for one another.  Do I hear an amen?

Love, Kathy x

Picture1

AS I HAVE LOVED YOU!

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

VICKY PHOTO

VICKY STEPHENSON, contributor for today’s blog

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

An amazing command: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER as I have loved you”.  But HOW?  I cry out to God I am on my knees literally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Obviously I know all the answers: not by your own strength but in God’s strength. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.

God pours out his love and fills me so I can share it with the world. But I still ask the Lord- HOW??

running-up-hillThen as I run (very slowly) up a hill in the beautiful morning sunshine with birds singing autumn leaves drifting down in a carpet of dazzling colour a small quiet voice says, “As ever Vicky, you have missed half of it. Love one another as I HAVE LOVED YOU! You are an instrument of my love in this world but that doesn’t mean all the love is for others, some of it is just for you!” Hard to keep running when I began to cry!!

I can only love others when I first allow others to love me; blimey how has it taken me 40 years to learn this lesson.  To begin with we need to accept that God loves us, just for being us. He loved you and me before the beginning of time and will continue to into eternity. He loves us when we are reading our bible and praying and when we are running round like headless chickens screaming at the children (oh maybe that is just my life). Nothing we do can make God love us any more or any less. It pleases God when we obey his commands but through Jesus his love is unconditional if we choose to accept it.  So let’s take a deep breath and let that settle in our hearts.

We have to allow others to love us. “Love one another” means a back and forth in relationship. This is so hard in our “I am an island” individualist world, where “she is an amazing ‘coper’! She doesn’t need any help!” Sometimes we read it as one-sided, not reciprocal. But that doesn’t look like the open connected deep fellowship Jesus encourages. So, we need to encourage one another to accept help, to be honest, show vulnerability and allow others to love us. This is not easy, but we will grow in Christ in this process of loving each other in this way. It is part of God’s plan. We are meant to do life together.

Jesus loved us as he accepted and rested in God the Father’s love for Him.  He loved us sacrificially by laying down his life. He shows us the symbolic everyday example he set for us when he washed the disciples’ feet. This was a beautiful, humble act! Notice though, that he didn’t completely exhaust himself with cooking the dinner and doing the washing up too!! He allowed others to love him by doing these tasks.

So, go out this week and love others but let God and others love you too!

 

 

 

BIBLE STUDY NIGHT IS TONIGHT!

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

women-encouraging-one-anotherHey girlfriends,

Tonight we are continuing our ONE ANOTHER series: ENCOURAGING ONE ANOTHER. 

It promises to be a fun, insightful and blessed time together as we look at God’s word about this important command.

WHERE: CBC church hall

WHEN: Tonight, 24 OCTOBER, 7:30 pm 

WHY: TO ONE ANOTHER!