Psalms 109:1-5 NLT
O God, whom I praise, don’t stand silent and aloof while the wicked slander me and tell lies about me.
They surround me with hateful words and fight against me for no reason.
I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them!
They repay evil for good, and hatred for my love.
How many times have I found myself looking at someone else’s words or actions an making assumptions about their life, their heart, their intent – without knowing the truth of their situation?
How often do we see a man begging for food and assume the worst instead of hoping for the best?
How often do I see a certain type of person, and lump them into a category, a stereotype, when I know nothing about them?
How often do I find myself expecting the same pains and treachery and evil from others that have hurt me in the past, even though I am praying for God to forgive them and for their lives to be changed?
How many times are my thoughts hateful and slanderous about others – showing the hardness of my heart to the Lord even when I might hide this from others by guarding my words.
Yes, this is unforgiveness – and it separates me from sharing the love of Christ in me and it stifles the fruitfulness of my life.
Left to my own devices, even my good intentions fall short of honoring the Lord. My thoughts betray my heart that isn’t fully perfected, that isn’t yet a completed work.
But you, Jesus Christ, are our Hope of Glory. Not that we will appear righteous or honorable among men, but that your name will be lifted high, that you will be exalted.
You promise us that to believe in you is to receive this Hope. To receive this gift of the Holy Spirit, of Christ who lives in us and through us. We receive salvation and forgiveness and redemption and healing, and yes, our lives are changed.
Thank you so much, God, for saving a sinner even like me – for having mercy mighty enough to forgive those who might seem unforgivable, to make useful for your work those who might seem unworthy, to take notice of me, your humble creation who was so low and you are so high.
And this gift doesn’t end at salvation. No, Lord. You tell us that salvation is birth into a new life. We are born again, into a life of Faith. Seeking you, learning about you, worshipping and praising you, as we learn more and more about your character, your nature, your very being. And we are in awe of you, our Father God – who chooses us, who loves us, who wants to have a relationship with us, his humble creation turned child.
And you teach us that you can be trusted when we trust you. You prove to us that these trials and tribulations and pains and sufferings are but temporary even though they are so really visible to our senses. You teach us that there is more than sensory perception and that life is not limited to the temporary and physical – but that those things spiritual and unseen are what is permanent and lasting.
And we learn of your love – a true love of a caring and guiding and correcting and protecting Father. And once we’ve bee touched by that love, it burns in us like a fire – it is a great light that must shine out from inside us.
Our purpose isn’t to strive towards not ending up in a hell is and eternal torment separated from God – Yes, not facing that judgement is a result of our salvation, but it is not what we are seeking.
Our purpose isn’t to strive towards ending up in a great mansion in heaven with many rewards and wonderful things for ourselves – Yes, there is an inheritance for those that are His, but it is not what we are seeking.
You see, those things are merely about ourselves. We seek to honor and praise you with our lives, Lord. You are the only one worthy of praise and honor. Not a single one of us deserves honor and praise and glory, but each of us can receive grace, and when we have you, Lord – we will know you, and experience you.
And because we love you, Lord – we will live them just as you love us.
Help us to Liv the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, see the opportunities to help those in need. Because we are the body of Christ – His love is manifest towards others not so often in the miraculous works of the hand of God altering the normal flow of the creation, but most often by the hand of His son or daughter in whom He lives.
Let us not only pray for others.
Let us be that hand today.
Because it is then that others see that God isn’t aloof or distant from them – He is right beside them in you – in your loving forgiveness and mercy, in your faithful service, in your encouragement, and in your sharing this Good News of Christ who lives in you.
Do not wait idly by – God wants to use you mightily today, friend. See the hand of God alive and at work in your walk today.
Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Mark 11:25 ESV
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 6:15 ESV
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.