Faith Hope and Love but the greatest of these is Love

Last week, I wrote about why being silent is not always a good thing. It just have resonated because more people opened this blog post than any other in the almost two years I have been writing this blog. I also shared that sometimes our lack of action is a way of being silent as well.  As I thought and talked to others about how to practically apply this concept, I was surprised how being loved or loving others motivates us to not be silent whether in word or deed.  In Acts 2 and then again in Acts 4, Peter is compelled to share what God wants for us because he had been loved by Jesus. If we truly care about another person, we will speak up on their behalf, do something if they need help, or make repair if we have hurt them in some way.  Here is the link to last week’s blog where you can find read a couple examples of how this can be done.

I think one of the most significant ways we can love one another is to forgive or to ask for forgiveness.  Think about it.  If someone does something to you and says they are sorry, forgiving them is a great way to show love.  If neither party is unwilling to say they are sorry or forgive, that silence will fester and negatively impact, not only the relationship but, as Gwen Randall-Young writes, one’s own health and mental well being as well. Our desire to make repair should be a motivating influence to not be silent but to move toward the other person.  I spoke to one friend this week who shared she apologizes while literally sitting on her child’s lap. Her daughter knows her mom won’t get up until things are resolved. What a wonderful picture of having the intentionality of desiring restoration.

God shows us the way in 1 John 1:9 where it says, “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us out sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” He wants us to come to Him with our failures and imperfections. We should want to do the same to those we have let down in some way. Matthew affirms this behavior where he writes, “ So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

I will close with these two important points. The bible says we must forgive but that it doesn’t always lead to reconciliation. I found a link to an article that unpacks this concept in a wonderful way. Another important consideration is that we must forgive ourselves before we can ask someone else to forgive us. May times people can’t ask for forgiveness because they think how could someone else forgive me when I can’t forgive myself? This points us back to the promise God gives us in 1 John 1:9.

What relationship is out of accord and needs repair? Why not in Faith seek them out and share how they have hurt you or how you have hurt them. Give each other the opportunity to confess their part in the broken relationship with the Hope that things can be resolved. Break the silence in word or in deed knowing that Love is the greatest and will show you the way.

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How did Easter cause you to seek God?

UVA Easter Sunrise Service

Charles Stanley reminds us that we need to be mindful of our priorities. Where do you invest our time and energy? What or who occupies our thoughts?  “As important as our earthly pursuits, responsibilities, and relationships may be, they cannot compare to the value of a life spent seeking the Lord.” The beginning of the year brings New Year resolutions? Easter brings the hope of a new life and the promise that our lives can be made new when we look to Him. How did you seek the Lord during the Easter season? I hope it was a time of refreshment and led you to a renewed desire to reorient your priorities so that life can be all God intends for it to be.

What does it mean to be renewed/refreshed? Why is it important? It is getting warmer outside again. As you walk by a pond, stop and look at it. It may look fine but in fact, it may be stagnant which can lead to fish kills and the rapid growth of floating green organic matter. It happens when there isn’t a constant exchange of living water that keeps a pond environment alive and healthy. Water comes in and fills a stagnant pond during a rain or a snow melt. But there is no outlet to keep the pond water fresh. The same can be said for how we live. Our lives can become stagnant because we are set in our ways which keeps us from receiving the fresh ideas and living water God wants to give us. Like a pond, we have to have an outlet to get rid of the stuff that holds us back from being a better version of ourselves so God has room to intervene and make us better.

Easter gives us that outlet. It comes in two ways. Confession and Forgiveness. 1 John 1;9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This becomes the outlet that takes away the toxicity from our hearts. Forgiveness does the same thing. Buddha says it this way, ““Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” That is why Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s prayer to ask God for forgiveness and then do the same thing to others.

So let’s remember that Easter is not just a one Sunday deal but an event that happened which changed the world forever. Let knowing God sent His Son to die be the living water that brings hope to your life every day. How awesome is it that gives us the outlet through confession and forgiveness to let go of the old so that we can be continually be refreshed and molded into the people for which God created us.

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