Forgiving the Unforgivable

“When God alone is with us in the strange, trackless forests of what we really are, there is potential for us to do or say all sorts of unpleasant things. Take heart. Whatever those things might be, he will forgive us, as long as we extend the same courtesy to others.” —Adrian Plass

Forgiving others isn’t a tough as we make it—yes, as we make it. Jesus taught us how—minus a step that we added. To forgive someone isn’t to finally feel good about them, which is a terrible burden of often hopeless, if not disingenuous effort. If we’re waiting to feel good about our offenders, we’ll be waiting a really long time—God never told us to feel good about them. Whenever Jesus taught us to forgive others, He always used the same metaphor. Debt—like keeping a ledger. Jesus’ death in our place erased the ledger of every unplayable penalty we’ll ever owe God—and He did it when we weren’t even likeable—when we were His enemies—objects of His wrath and ungodly. Through Jesus He erased the ledger of our unpayable debt. When the Books are finally opened, they’ll be blank.

And that’s how we forgive our enemies—even the unforgivable. God doesn’t require us to like them, but to discharge their debt against us—yes, they did bad things, but they owe me nothing—not even an apology, forevermore. Like Jesus did to us.

Jesus said: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…” Now ya know.

Be free.

—j

The Mosquito in Your Room

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle [you know nothing about].” —Ian McLaren

We impact every person we meet—there’s no stopping it. When we’re indifferent, people feel it—and often learn it—from us. The same thing is true when we’re kind, compassion and loving—people feel it and learn it—from us. That’s how the world is changed—it’s how Jesus did it and it’s why His impact has traveled so far for so long so powerfully. Walking as He walked Him, even the smallest person has mighty impact. It’s just that big.

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room…” —Bette Reese

Give ’em Heaven.

—j

When You’ve Wrecked Your Day…

(An Elementary School teacher’s poem…)

He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done;
“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher, I’ve spoiled this one?”
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted,
Gave him a new one, all unspotted;
And into his tired heart I cried, “Do better now, my child.”

I went to the Throne with a trembling heart, the day was done;
“Have you a new day for me, dear Master, I’ve spoiled this one?”
He took my day, all soiled and blotted,
Gave me a new one, all unspotted;
And into my tired heart He cried, “Do better now, my child.”
(Author Unknown)

Don’t you just love God’s grace…?

—j

My Favorite Poem. Ever.

My favorite poem (to be read in the meter of my favorite poet—Dr. Seuss)…

When I Became A Christian
by Adrian Plass

When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen—I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen—I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen—a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen—a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen—tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need the joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen—tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen—I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.
Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.

Amen.
—j

Holding Hands in the Dark

Sometimes God is hard to see. “Where is God in my darkness?” people cry, and understandably so. Yet even the night cannot contain Him…

“As the rain hides the stars, as the autumn mist hides the hills, happenings of my lot hide the shining of Thy face from me. Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough; since I know that, though I may stumble in my going, Thou dost not fall.” —Alistair Maclean

He was there all along.

Blessings,
—j

What Flavor Are You?

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. —James 3:17–18

According to the Bible, followers of Jesus are not fearful people. Followers of Jesus are not angry people. Followers of Jesus are the least offendable people in the world because they are not of the world. Ironically, the world agrees with this Biblical assessment of Christians.

Read many Christian posts on social media sites, interact with many church-goers and you often find otherwise.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit—that succulent love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control—grow on us for others to enjoy—a vine doesn’t eat its own fruit. And the fruit is sweet and nourishing and good, because Jesus is good.

When did so many followers of Jesus forget this, I wonder, and why?
How do we taste to others today? How do we taste to Jesus?

Have a flavorful day.

—j

(The artist is the talented Kim Blair of Edmonton, Canada; the piece is called “Foiled Tangelo”)

Hello Facebook Christians

Hello Facebook Christians,

People are reading your posts. So as you write, paste, tag and share—remember.

Remember that followers of Jesus are not fearful people. Followers of Jesus are not angry people. Followers of Jesus are the least offendable people in the world because they are not of the world.

Jesus said His followers were refreshing to others.
Christ is who we stand for.
Righteousness is the good we do for others.
Holy is what God made us.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
This world is not our home.

Remember?

Keep the faith.