Tag Archives: forgiveness

Dust Collects Everywhere

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “collect.”

Our neighbours are doing alterations – breaking down walls and eventually building new ones.

Anybody who has ever been involved in any kind of renovation or building will know that the dust collects everywhere. We can see it creeping over the wall.

Sin is like dust. Sometimes it’s easy to spot and we can avoid the area. At other times it is subtle and hardly noticeable until a shaft of sunlight reveals the dust that has collected on a surface. If we ask Jesus to shine the light of His Holy Spirt on our lives, we will see things that we hadn’t noticed, not blatant actions but tiny attitudes of mind, a grumbling spirt, a covetous thought or regarding our time/money/life as our own.

When Jesus washed the disciples feet, Peter objected. When Jesus explained that unless Peter allowed Jesus to wash him, he had no part of his Lord, Peter replied, “Not just my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” (John13:9-10a NIV)

The roads in those days were dirt roads. Nobody could walk along them in sandaled feet without collecting a lot of dust on their feet – even if they had bathed and put on clean clothes for a special celebration like Passover.

We come to Jesus once in repentance and He forgives our sin, based on His atoning death. That is like the bath; but every day we collect the dust of sin on our souls and it is necessary to ask for forgiveness. That is like having our feet washed.

I am certainly not going to dust my house every day just because the neighbours are building but I will try to get my soul dusted every day.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, as You did to the disciples, please wash my feet and show me those little dust sins that collect in my heart. Amen.

Secret Sins

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells the story of the unforgiving servant. The story is a grim warning. A servant who owed his master ten thousand bags of gold was forgiven. He found another servant who owed him a paltry sum and had him thrown into prison until he had paid his debt. When his master heard about it, he threw the unforgiving servant into jail to be tortured until he paid everything, which he could never do.

I don’t think this parable means our forgiveness through Christ’s death can be nullified if we don’t forgive others. However, I’m arrested by this thought of torturers.

Research shows that 75 to 98% of mental, physical and behavioral illness comes from one’s thought life (Brian Luke Seaward.) We are all aware of some of the physical effects of unforgiveness, including depression, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease.

A friend with fibromyalgia told me she felt a lot better after she started forgiving people who had hurt her in the past. She had once told me that when she had the pain, it was like she was being tortured. Forgiveness released her from this prison of torture.

I wonder if this was the sort of thing Jesus was talking about. When we withhold forgiveness, we suffer. I have heard it said unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness is not the only secret sin that can poison our lives but it is one I battle with so it is uppermost in my mind. Others are resentment, bitterness, envy, and covetousness (which is forbidden in the ten commandments.)

If we harbour these secret sins, we deserve to suffer. However, grace means not getting what we deserve and getting what we don’t deserve. Isaiah 53:4-5 reads, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering…the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

I picture Jesus on the cross, suffering the physical symptoms my poisoned thinking has caused.

“My Lord, what love is this, that pays so dearly, that I, the guilty one, may go free.” (Graham Kendrick)

My prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I confess I have entertained unforgiveness in my heart. Please forgive me and heal me. It is only by the power of Your Spirit that I can forgive. Please renew a right spirit within me every day. Amen.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When a Good Friend Dies

Yesterday a good friend died. She hosted our fellowship group which will never be the same again. It wasn’t Covid. It was leukemia and it was sudden. We got the first message saying she was in hospital with some weird blood disease on Saturday. She started chemotherapy on Monday, Yesterday morning we got the message that she was unresponsive and by 3pm she had gone to her Lord.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I was shocked out of comfort into stark reality. Death is so final and so disruptive to our everyday life! Could I have been a better friend?

I realised again that we should tell the people we love that we love them, while they can still hear, that we must forgive while it is still possible, that we should always keep in mind that we, too, can be taken suddenly in the midst of living.

Our possessions, home, car, pets are only ours while we are alive. One day somebody else will sort out our freezer, make plans for our animals, donate our clothes, close our bank account.

Stephen Covey recommends that we start with the end in view. I am going to die. What would I like my friends and family to say about me once I’m gone? That my house was always tidy or that I dropped everything to enjoy an outing with a friend? That I published a book or made memories with grandchildren? That I brought encouragement or pointed out mistakes?

These and many more questions I need to think on in the coming days. The advice in Philippians 4:8 is always helpful.

Finally, Brothers and Sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Goodbye, Pat, I will always remember you. You were a hostess who cared about each individual guest, even the ones who didn’t like curry or pork. You knew our favourite drinks and made sure you had them. You noticed the quiet members of the group and encouraged them. Your love for life inspired me, your unwavering trust in the Lord I strive to attain. You will be missed by a large circle of friends. I feel honoured that I can count myself one of them.

Lockdown Day 15. Hand Washing

Today is Good Friday.

Last night we heard the news of the extended lockdown. Another two weeks!

Our six-year-old granddaughter is very meticulous about sanitising her hands. I have hand sanitiser mounted on the wall next to our front door.

We got together with the family and celebrated our own Tenebrae service. We took turns reading the account of Jesus’ last day before the Crucifixion from Luke chapters 22 and 23. At dramatic pauses, we extinguished one of eight candles until it was dark. Then we lit the ninth candle, the Christ-light as a symbol of Hope.

One of the dramatic pauses was when Pontius Pilate washed his hands. He was trying to wash the guilt of Jesus’ unlawful death from himself.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Although soap and water can get rid of the corona virus, it’s not so easy to get rid of guilt. The Bible says without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.(Hebrews9:22 NIV)

That reminds me of a song by Hillsong.

We can wash our hands and keep our social distance and try to keep the corona virus from us and our family but all that can really save us globally is a vaccine. That reminds me of a very potent parable that I think is very appropriate for this time in history as well as Good Friday. It was written in 2009.

This is the parable .

I can add only one thing to the story. The vaccine was free for all but people had the choice of whether to take it or not.

Christ’s forgiveness is not cheap but it is free for all. We have a choice to make, whether to accept it or not.