Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015 “If My People…”

“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Good Morning Everyone. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

“Where do I begin?”  Should I begin with the racial unrest in our nation? Perhaps I should begin with the countless and senseless shootings in the city streets and small towns, and even the public schools of our beloved country. Maybe I should begin closer to home, where acts of domestic violence are on the rise…where there is marital strife or youthful rebellion. I suppose I could begin with the political rancor that abounds on the airways. And I haven’t even mentioned the terrorist acts that are on the increase. Where do I begin?

Some years ago, author Erich Segal wrote a novel that was to later be made into one of Hollywood’s most successful endeavors…”Love Story.” There was an iconic line in the movie, readily recalled by those who viewed this movie or read the book. That iconic line is “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” As romantic as that line may have sounded in the context of the film, as a husband, a parent, a child, and a Christian, I most certainly beg to differ. As the song from the film asks, “Where Do I Begin? Well, let’s see: Husbands…imagine never feeling the necessity of apologizing to your wife for some bad behavior on your part. Do you think that would cut it? Parents…imagine letting your kids get away with absolutely anything because you “love” them so much that you don’t expect an apology. Would you ever treat them that way? As Christians, do we believe God casually turns his back on our sin and recalcitrance because he loves us so much? Actually, some churches I know of actually make that sort of proclamation, emphasizing the inclusivity of the love of God while ignoring the holiness of God and the tremendous cost of sin.  There was a high price paid for sin…His own’ Son’s sacrifice. No, love most certainly does not mean “never having to say you’re sorry.” In fact, love requires it…and even more. In this passage, we see God’s four conditions for forgiveness: (1) Humble admission of sin. (2) Praying for forgiveness. (3) Seeking God continually (4) Turning from sinful behavior. Being truly sorry involves a lot more than simply uttering the words “I’m sorry.”  It is demonstrated by changed behavior. That is the true indication of genuine remorse. Love does NOT mean never having to say you’re sorry. Love means grace and forgiveness on God’s part will come when true repentance is made through admitting our sin, praying and asking God’s forgiveness, seeking His presence continually, and turning from sinful behavior. That’s where the Love Story is experienced. It begins there for us personally and also as a nation.  Let’s pray!

Just and merciful God: In your love, you have laid out the conditions of forgiveness and the means of grace. May we respond with contrite hearts that seek You daily. Forgive and restore us into full fellowship with You, we ask in Jesus’ blessed, Holy Name. Amen!

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