Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015 “Burying the Hatchet”

For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted,  forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Good Morning Everyone. Our gracious Lord has given us another new Day. Let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

As you read this salutation, some of you may be thinking, “I don’t feel much like rejoicing today, nor am I glad”. There are, of course, legitimate and defensible circumstances that would justify such a response. You might not be feeling well physically. You may not have  slept well. There may be a pressing situation at work that’s been bugging you. Or perhaps someone has wronged you in some way and you’re really angry about it. It’s the last of these reasons on which I would particularly like to focus today, but an attitude of rejoicing and gladness is an applicable response to all those situations I have referenced, and those I have not.

Rejoicing and gladness are more than natural reactions to pleasant circumstances…they are also choices we make when things are not going particularly well. They are positive attitude adjustments to situations that affect our lives and emotions. Both are powerful antidotes in dealing with adverse situations…particularly anger and bitterness towards someone who has wronged us.   Lest I be misunderstood, I am not suggesting that we should be happy when we are wronged. That is far from a natural response. What I am saying, and what is laid out plainly in the referenced passages that head this post, is that our rejoicing and gladness come from the knowledge that we have been forgiven much by our merciful God, who does not hold a grudge or remain angry at us for our sins and transgressions. Remembering the magnitude of our own sinfulness and the absolutely unmerited favor extended to us by our Lord should most certainly elicit a response of rejoicing and gladness. In addition, we are called upon to ““Be kind to one another, tender-hearted,  forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  That is the Biblical way to handle anger when we are wronged by someone…we are to emulate Christ. Too often, we hold on to that anger. We may say something like this…”Well, I forgive you, but I can never forget what you did to me.” How does that square with what we read in Hebrews…For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more”? The great Dwight L. Moody noted,

“Those who say they will forgive but can’t forget, simply bury the hatchet but leave the handle out for immediate use”.    

Rather than emulating Christ, forgiveness without pulling out the roots of bitterness completely fails to understand the quality of mercy demonstrated to us by Jesus on the Cross…complete and total covering of our wrongdoing. Rejoice and be glad…”Be kind to one another, tender-hearted,  forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Let’s pray!

Gracious Lord; In Your great mercy, You have obliterated the enormous debt of sin that has accumulated in my life, restoring me to a right relationship with you. When I have been wronged by another, may I forgive, just as I have been forgiven by You. This is the day that You have made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it! Amen!

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