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The power of forgiveness

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Prophet Sunday O. Nwabeke

A woman comes to Jesus in a Pharisee’s house weeping, as she washed His feet.

No doubt, she felt shame as Simon’s eyes communicated to everyone present that this woman was a sinner and that Jesus had no business letting her touch Him.

Indeed, she was a sinner. There was a place for true shame, but not for too long.

Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48). And when the guests murmured about this, He strengthened her faith by saying, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).

How did Jesus help her battle the crippling effects of shame? He gave her a promise: “Your sins have been forgiven!

Your faith has saved you. Your future will be one of peace.” He declared that past pardon would now yield future peace.

So, the issue for her was faith in God’s future grace, rooted in the authority of Jesus’ forgiving work and freeing word.

That is the way every one of us must battle the effects of well-placed shame — not false shame, but shame that we really should feel, shame that threatens to linger too long and cripple us.

We must battle the unbelief of crippling shame by taking hold of the promises of future grace and peace that come through forgiveness of our shameful acts.

• “With you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” (Psalm 130:4)

• “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6–7)

• “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

• “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)

All of us need forgiveness. And we will need it tomorrow. Jesus died to provide it today and tomorrow.

Today or tomorrow, the reality is this: God’s forgiveness liberates us for our future. It frees us from crippling shame. Forgiveness is full of future grace.

When we live by faith in future grace, rooted in God’s forgiveness, we are freed from the lingering, paralysing effects, even of the shame we deserve to feel. That’s what forgiveness means.

You Must Fight Hard for Peace

The dove is a nearly universal symbol of peace. And a very appropriate one. Doves are beautiful, gentle and faithful creatures.

They’re also, well, flighty creatures. It doesn’t take much to send a dove fluttering away. A harsh word, a rash gesture, and off she goes.

If you want a dove to stay around, you have to be very careful how you speak and act. Which is a lot like what it takes to be at peace with other people.

“When a conflict is brewing, we should assume it is avoidable and do everything to pursue peace.”

The author of Hebrews tells us to “strive for peace with everyone” (Hebrews 12:14). His implication: peace — real, honest peace, not dysfunctional conflict avoidance — is hard to keep.

How hard? Well, pursuing peace fits into the list of hard things he groups around this statement:

• It’s hard like lifting drooping hands and strengthening weak knees when you’re tired and discouraged (Hebrews 12:12).

• It’s hard like continuing to walk when your leg is injured (Hebrews 12:13).

Covenant Prayer Life Assembly, 6, Unity Crescent, off Olatunji Street, Ladipo, Oshodi, Lagos. Contact us on 08034849689, or e-mail: Covenantradiotv@gmail.com


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