Forgiveness and Grace

I blogged this a while back – but would like to repost it………….   Matthew West is coming and it was one of his songs that inspired me to write it…                               Bobbyg
In my work I get to travel allot and during this time I get some great quite/praise time.   One of the topics that I have been doing allot of pondering on – is Forgiveness and very often the Word Grace is included with this because of how hard forgiveness can be.
Have you ever had someone-church-or situation that has been so terrible to you or your family that you have convinced yourself that it does not deserve Forgiveness?  You have even gone so far as to convince yourself that God is Ok with it and you are justified for your feelings.   I have one of those occasions and carried it for almost 20 years until a young friend of mine (Ryan) got my attention.   We were around a camp fire and the conversation of forgiveness came up so I told my story (a most convincing one) of the situation that happened and that I would rather see the person dead then forgive them – and God was OK with that.  The young friend proceeded to ask the question – What Jesus would do?  (OK – so our friendship was going really south now – just kidding…)  It took about 2 days for this to take hold and then GOD started working.
Matthew West has a song out called Forgiveness – below are some of the words.
      “It’s the hardest thing to give away – And the last thing on your mind today –  It always goes to those that don’t deserve –  It’s the opposite of how you feel –  When the pain they caused is just to real – It takes everything you have just to say the word…  Forgiveness
            It flies in the face of all your pride – It moves away the mad inside – It’s always anger’s own worst enemy -Even when the jury and the judge –  Say you gotta right to hold a grudge –  It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’   Forgiveness
Show me how to love the unlovable – Show me how to reach the unreachable – Help me now to do the impossible – Forgiveness
It’ll clear the bitterness away – It can even set a prisoner free – There is no end to what it’s power can do -So, let it go and be amazed – By what you see through eyes of grace – The prisoner that it really frees is you
            I want to finally set it free – So show me how to see what Your mercy sees – Help me now to give what You gave to meForgiveness.
These words are powerful and right on…   I wish this song had come out about 20 years ago.    But as I pondered the wisdom of my young friend – I had to start praying to God about this person who had done my family a great wrong.  As one of Lyrics from a Tenth Avenue West song states “Oh, Father won’t You forgive them -They don’t know what they’ve been doing -Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them -Cause I feel like the one losing”.
I had to pray just these words – and my prayers were that someday this person would know the Love of Jesus and be in Heaven.  I am not sure I was able to pray for me to forgive this person – but to have God forgive them.  From that day forward God started talking to me in a whole new way – I had finally set it free and the communication between GOD and me was not being blocked.  There were times I would actually look around to see if there was someone next to me talking – but it was the spirit within me opening new doors of communication that I could not have thought possibleJ.
Now comes that terrible word Grace (giving someone something they do not deserve) and it is really a hard gift to grasp and live.   I like to give the illustration that a very wise Pastor (Jeff) stated in one of his Sermons – but I use a $2 bill to explain it.  In my travels I eat out allot – so when I go to the bank I always buy all their $2 bills and use them as Tips.  I tell everyone that the person who gets the most $2 bills is the worst waitress of the day – I give them something they do not deserve.  Try it sometime – it changes you and the other person.  But this is something that does not come easy or naturally – you will have to discipline yourself and it will take practice.  “Giving Grace”
My very good friend (Nick) has this saying from a Book title “Love Wins” and he lives it.  Nick explained that one of the best ways to witness to someone is with Love.  Instead of telling them that if they do not Change their ways they will go straight to Hell.  But instead tell them that God loves them and wishes that all would be in Heaven with him – then go on to explain how that works.  Love always wins….
**”If I speak in tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”                                    1 Corinthians 13:1
One of the things that I have been trying to live is:  Do they see Jesus in me – and whatever I do points to him.  (Another song lyric – you can see I do allot of worship in my travels – but most of it is in prayer).  I have to continually examine myself to see if I am truly living this – it takes allot of discipline and practice.
 So Please go forward today and ask the question “What would Jesus DO?”
 Bobby G