One of the many privileges I have as a chaplain is to help those going through difficulties with the Word of God. Recently one of my board member’s best friend died. After sharing my condolences, the board member asked for any thoughts I could give him regarding the address he was preparing for the funeral.
I took this opportunity to describe the promises Jesus gave His disciples before His crucifixion (John 14). For those who grieve and feel the sting of death Christ reminds us:
- The Peace that He Provides: “Let not your heart be troubled”
- The Place He Prepares: “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself.”
- The Path He Prescribes: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
I often hear at funerals about the past of an individual. Like most of us there are things better left unsaid. Our failures, disappointments, and sin before we knew Christ are things that God has forgiven and everyone else should forgive and forget. Some people seem to take great delight in focusing upon a person’s past rather than what they have accomplished once they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Maybe these inappropriate comments help the speaker feel he is connecting the deceased to our broken world.
Aren’t we glad that as a saved person God can only see us through the lens of grace. It is good to remind ourselves that we live in a fallen world and are not expected to be perfect – just forgiven. God continues to be in the process of refining, shaping, molding, and perfecting His saints as we give our yield hearts to him on a daily basis.
The following story suggests some good food for thought when it comes to forgiving and forgetting. Aren’t we glad our Heavenly Father has forgotten our transgressions because of the sacrifice Christ made? Praise God!
What an awesome reminder…
One night in a church service, a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart. She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution, but the change in her was evident. As time went on, she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long until this faithful lady had caught the eye and heart of the pastor’s son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans.
This is when the problems began. You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor’s son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past. As she began to cry, the pastor’s son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife-to-be. He began to speak and his statement was this: “My fiancée’s past is not what is on trial here. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?”
The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are to be dismayed. Let’s remember the old song, “What can wash way my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:23
- What part of grace do you understand and how can you apply it to your present situation?
- Forgiveness is one of the toughest things to offer. Only through the peace and presence of God in our lives can we provide grace to those who offended us.
- What did Jesus mean when he said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”? 2 Corth. 12:9
- Pass this devotional along to someone who needs to be forgiven and wants to feel God’s love.