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April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017

"How Do You Forgive?"

God has done it all!  He sent Christ to make peace between Himself and us, and He has given us the work of making peace between Himself and others.  What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world.  And He has given us the work of sharing His message about peace.  We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message.  We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God.” 
2 Corinthians 5: 18 – 20 CEV

Nearly sixty years ago, five American missionaries headed to the rainforest in Ecuador to make a second visit to the Huaorani tribe.  This tribe had a history of violence.  Over 60% of the tribe died by homicide.  

As soon as the missionaries got out of the plane they were killed by members of the tribe.  Many newspapers reported the deaths, including Jim Elliott and Nate Saint.  

A couple of years later, Elizabeth and Valerie Elliott, the wife and daughter of Jim, and Rachael Saint, the sister of Nate, moved into the village.  They showed love and forgiveness to the tribe.  Eventually, the whole tribe became Christians.  

The kind of forgiveness these three people showed doesn’t make any sense until you have been forgiven by God.  When you have experienced it you understand how much God forgives you and can do them.  

Relinquish you right to get even – that’s the key element in forgiveness.  Giving up the right you feel you have to get even.  Let God handle that.

Respond to evil with good – how can you tell if you’ve forgiven someone?  When you can actually pray asking God to bless them.  

Repeat these two steps as long as necessary – when Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive somebody, Jesus said “seventy times seven.”  Can you imagine trying to keep track of that?  You see that’s exactly the point, you don't.  

When you do this you actually get another opportunity.  You can rescue others with the good news of God’s forgiveness.  They will come to know it through your love, care and forgiveness.  That changes lives.

Peace in the Lord,

Pastor Don