Grace and Forgiveness

Colossians 1:14

…in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Both my parents were prisoners of war during World War II. They each worked in separate labor prisons in southern Germany for a good portion of the entire war. How each responded afterward throughout their life from the negative impact of such an ordeal is a lesson I remind myself each day.

They both carried scars from their ordeal as slaves under the Nazi regime. Yet Dad’s was less noticeable than Mom’s. In fact, Dad seem to take those ugly events, put it behind him, and gracefully launch himself into a productive, fulfilling life even with health battles. Mom on the other hand, never seem to forget the past, continually blaming everyone whose hand she suffered under, and always considered herself a victim of circumstances. In hindsight, their 50+ year marriage is a good case study of the after effects between freedom and slavery.

Dad and Mom were both religious, but Dad quietly practice his faith while Mom only played the part.

As Dad would always remind us, God protected him so many times during the war and throughout life, he was grateful to live in America and build a comfortable home for his family. He only had an eighth-grade education, but a strong character developed through hard work, personal responsibility, and love of God which molded him and was expressed through his skills and temperament.

Mom though never let the past die. She was a very intelligent woman and hard worker likewise with only an eighth-grade education. She could speak five languages, and cook a banquet for an army. Yet her personal demons never died. She never forgave the people who hurt her, always blaming others for her suffering, and viewed the world from a victim mentality.  

Both Dad and Mom suffered similar trials. Yet both responded in different fashions. Dad yielded himself to God, besides praying twice a day on his knees in the living room early mornings and before bedtime in the evening, he related with others through a mirror of humility and strong character. He didn’t understand theology but knew His God was real and with him.

Mom believed God, but wouldn’t allow Him full access to change her from the inside-out. She always had to maintain control and her pride blocked anyone entrance into her heart. Like many people today who unbeknownst struggle with victim mentality, she had everything physically around her that was the good life, but inwardly continually and repeatedly fought a war which technically ended in 1945 but remained active in her heart and mind till her death some 70 years later.

People who haven’t learned the importance and necessity of forgiving others live lives being suffocated from their own bitterness and anger. Instead of accepting the beauty currently around them in the present, they keep reliving the past. They find it difficult to let go of the emotional hurt and gladly join others who share in the same misery. In many ways, they don’t realize or accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.         

As Christ-followers, we know our heavenly Father has adopted us into His family and given us a Spirit of freedom. But we need to allow His Spirit full access into our heart and mind to change our values, perspective, and worldview. Freedom requires personal responsibility and strong humility. Anyone can abuse freedom, but to maintain and unify relationships requires the freedom to respect others even when we don’t agree with the other. And most importantly, when we are done wrong, the quicker we learn to forgive and move on, the more freedom grows and opportunities abound.

I am thankful for Dad and Mom giving me life and allowing me to learn from them. I am also most thankful for our Great God who continues to shower His grace upon us and teach us how to live through the struggles, trials and tests of life that shapes and prunes the eternal character being developed within this soul. For the same reason, I believe you and I have more in common than we openly want to admit.  All because of the central work of Jesus Christ.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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What’s It All About?

Jesus came to redeem the world. Since Adam & Eve rebelled against God, this world’s beauty has become disarrayed by evil. As a people we have messed up almost everything we have touched. We have tried to create a world order apart from God. But the good news is that through Jesus each one of us has the opportunity to taste how life was initially created to be.

Sin is an old-fashion term but a modern day event. Many people don’t even know what the definition of sin is. There are those who make it into some religious ritual. There are others who call sin anything that is fun and enjoyable. Others define it only as an action and not a thought. Some define it as a spirit or attitude that opposes the Will of God.

sin3

The Bible provides us with several definitions of sin. Whether we miss the mark, transgress the law, break His commandments, rebel against God, live alienated from Him, or perform any action without faith, hope, and love are all symptoms of sin. We are surrounded in sin and many of us are even saturated in sin. We lavish in sin and even enjoy the pleasure of sin. But until sin’s penalties leave its mark on us causing pain and sorrow, we live life trying to ignore it.

Many of us try to manage sin. We believe we are stronger than any sin that comes our way. We seek temptation rather than flee from it. Many times we are blind to sin’s attempt of capturing us. We walk right into sin’s traps like a dodo bird in a fashion show. We parade our stuff only to lose again at evil’s game.

The Bible also states that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. We all must die. There is no escaping that fact from planet earth. The question remains then what? If there is no life hereafter, than we might as well party and wallow in our sins. If this is all that there is, than mankind is one cruel joke. Simply put, if Jesus lived His life like history records it, than many of us better look twice. For either He is the Messiah or He is not. If He is not, than we better have sufficient proof. But if He is, like many who believe He is, why not accept His offer?

His desire is that you enter into a relationship with Him and His Dad now and for all eternity. His plan includes everyone that freely and willfully accepts His offer. His offer includes all the benefits of being a child of God. His plan is to bring you back into the Family of God, to redeem you from this world and sin, to grant you His gift of eternal life and all its treasures. His desire is that your life be rich and successful like His. Daddy knows best. Why not accept His offer?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Our Wonderful Dad, thank you for being so merciful with us. Thank you for allowing us the freedom to choose. We know there are many who choose you out of fear. There are those who choose you out of self-preservation. But we also know that there are many that choose you because of your love. You are the most loving, giving, gracious being we have ever known. We thank you for being involved in our life Though we are sinful with a natural disposition towards sin, we thank you for loving us even in our sins. Help us to live life away from sin. Change our heart with Your Spirit. Keep sin and its power away from us. Let the righteousness of Jesus surround us. Bathe us with your righteousness. Wash us thoroughly from all that we naturally are. Let your Holiness abide in us without pain or discomfort. Let your Home always be within us and let our home always be with You. Thank you Jesus for everything in your name. Amen.

Dr. Mike