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Tag Archives: forgiveness

Forgiveness is a Lovely Idea Until You Have to Forgive

Happy Days was one of my favorite shows as a child, running for a decade on ABC.  Like any boy, Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham and Henry Winkler, the Fonz, were my two favorite characters.  This show about the life of teenagers at their favorite hangout, Arnolds, captivated my attention.  However, one of the things I remember the most is Fonzie’s inability to say sorry or admit he was wrong as depicted in the attached you tube.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses,” Mark 11:25.

Not much has changed in the past 25 years since this show went off the air.  Following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve, people prefer to play the blame game rather than take responsibility for wrong actions.  Meanwhile, justification, rationalization or playing the victim card has become normal behavior.  While everyone demands justice when you have been wronged, “forgiveness is a lovely idea until you have to forgive someone else.”  This quote by C.S. Lewis applies today, especially in the context of relationships.

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive, Colossians 3:13.

The apostle Paul calls individuals to bear with one another.  This urging involves patience, a quality that few adults possess.  Thus, forgiveness can get messy, full of emotion, frustration and tears.  Yet, if you want forgiveness to flow back to you, God demands that you forgive others as Jesus forgave you.  Therefore, despite how unpleasant it may be for you to care for, forgive and love, the act of forgiveness is essential toward securing your eternal destiny, Matthew 6:14-15.  May this blog inspire you to emulate Christ as you strive to forgive and forget.

by Jay Mankus

Sins in the Dark Brought to Light

If you were asleep the past couple months, you missed a life long worth of scandals.  Every day stories are breaking about affairs, inappropriate relations or sexual assaults.  Whether you’re a celebrity, member of the media or school teacher, transgressions committed in darkness have been brought to the light.  I’m not sure why this is occurring all at once, but perhaps a spirit of confession has inspired guilty consciences to come clean.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy, Proverbs 28:13.

Despite the powerful messages recorded in the Bible, each was written by fallen individuals.  Abraham had a tendency to lie rather than trust God.  David committed adultery, got a married woman pregnant then gave orders to have her husband killed.  Peter talked a good game, but when push came to shove, he publicly denied knowing Jesus three times.  One of the mysterious ways God works is through convicting hearts of actions in direct conflict with biblical principles.  Those who conceal that which is hidden will not prosper.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld, John 20:23.

Through all the dirty laundry that is aired regularly, I do see one positive outcome of this ugly part of American history.  The only way to truly heal is through the act of penance.  While attending seminary, I took a class called Revival and Revivalism.  This course studied the Great Awakenings and it’s impact on Great Britain and the United States.  Surprisingly, each was started by young people bearing their souls in public, revealing deeds of darkness of their past.  This act of honesty stirred hearts to do the same.  While America may seem like it’s falling apart, perhaps sins in the dark brought to light may serve as inspiration to ignite another great awakening.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Go There or Else

There is a new movement emerging from members of the media, seeking to destroy naysayers, opponents and those possessing opposing worldviews.  This rush to judgment ignores the concept of innocent until proven guilty.  Instead of waiting until the facts to come out during a trial, the severity of recent accusations are more than enough to presume guilt.  Where did this mentality come from and what does the Bible say to address this issue?

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities, Psalm 103:10.

According to David, God does not treat human beings as they deserve.  According to Psalm 103:12, God’s love is infinite, “as far as the east is from the west.”  If God is willing to show forgiveness, grace and mercy to undeserving sinners, why is the mainstream media so quick to condemn.  Have the elite been offended by conservatives in the past?  Is this recent response some sort of pay back for previous hypocritical actions?  Whatever the reason, sometimes you have to use common sense by replying, “don’t go there.”

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times, Matthew 18:21-22.

There was an unspoken belief that forgiveness should be limited in the first century.  Sensing a good opportunity to address this topic, Jesus shares the parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  Attempting to shatter any stereotypes on forgiveness, Jesus illustrates God’s mercy on those who are unable to pay back earthly debts accrued over time.  God the Father bestows grace on those who beg for mercy.  Yet, lip service is disregarded unless individuals reciprocate mercy by doing to others as you want others to do unto you.  In other words, don’t go there or else.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:14-15.

The or else part of this equation was addressed by Jesus earlier in the book of Matthew.  At the conclusion of the portion of Scripture known as the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father, Jesus emphasizes the conditional aspect of forgiveness.  Yes, I did say conditional, based upon how you treat other people.  In next chapter, Matthew 7 builds upon this concept proclaiming, ” the measure to which you judge others will be used against you.”  Therefore, despite whatever differences you may have against others, make sure your remember to live out the Golden Rule.  Don’t seek revenge or the grace of God will turn it’s back on you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Never Be The Same

There are moments in life that serve as life altering experiences.  Whether this is a decision to begin a new career, relationship or adapt to an unexpected event, your life will never be the same.  Like a fork in a road, you have to decide the path your life will take.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me, John 15:4.

The Christian Group Red sing about this on their Innocence and Instinct album.  The context of the song Never Be the Same refers to entering into a relationship with Jesus.  Unlike any other earthly experience, God’s love is unconditional.  For anyone who has been burned, disappointed or let down by unfulfilled promises, this concept is hard to grasp.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing, John 15:5.

Yet, any prodigal who has come to their senses, God’s timing serves as a saving grace.  While modern church leaders attempt to manufacture this setting through long drawn out altar calls, the desperate will run to God.  After the emotion of God’s forgiveness fades, the hard part is setting time aside daily to maintain this connection.  You can’t force anyone into a relationship that they have no interest in.  However, if freewill is allowed to run it’s course freely, new Christians will never be the same.

by Jay Mankus

Killing Conflict

Motivational speakers can make some outlandish claims.  Behind the enthusiasm lies a formula, method or outline which leads to success.  Books, seminars and self help videos has vaulted some to financial prosperity.  Yet, there is only one who can successfully kill conflict.

Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded, James 4:8.

Seminaries introduce students to terms like contrition, forgiveness and grace.  Beyond these theological words is one simple act, to take personal responsibility for your actions.  In this day and age, “I’m sorry, its my fault or please forgive me,” are disappearing.  Yet, if you take the blame, this disarms the raw emotions within conflict.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up, James 4:10.

Unfortunately, human nature does just the opposite, following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve, searching for a scapegoat.  This response usually ignites conflict rather than extinguish it.  If only individuals would begin to emulate the teaching of James, humility could kill conflict.  Yet, for now the world is forced to dodge a minefield of pride which will require countless hours of prayer to diffuse.

by Jay Mankus

 

Spicing Up Church

Church history tends to go in cycles with one generation often forgetting the mistakes of the past.  Church growth experts substitute previously failed measures with cutting edge facilities, programs and technology.  Thus, if you attend modern church services you will find many replicate a concert with loud music, some sort of light show and overhead projectors that replace hymnals.  Only time will tell if spicing up church is successful.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends, John 15:13.

My spiritual background is a like a blended family.  I grew up in the Roman Catholic church, attending CCD until my confirmation.  While in high school, I began to attend a Methodist youth group.  During my college years I spent time at Baptist, Pentecostal and Non-denomination congregations before graduating.  Six months later I participated in a Lutheran dominated Youth Ministry Trade School.  I could go on, but for me the only thing that spices up church is developing permanent meaningful lasting relationships.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, James 5:16.

I can recall one night walking for miles, spending several hours pouring out my heart to close friends Dave and Liz.  The earthly brother of Jesus is correct when he states publicly confessing your sins leads to healing.  In fact, a teenager in England ignited the second great awakening by asking his congregation for forgiveness, revealing his deep and dark sins.  Perhaps, if the leaders of modern churches begin to practice the biblical principles which led to previous spiritual awakenings, communities would notice what it means to spice up the church.

by Jay Mankus

 

Push It

If if wasn’t for Geico Insurance commercials, this generation probably wouldn’t be familiar with the Salt-N-Pepper song Push It.  Recent ads illustrate actors being pushed around in a couple of scenes while being hearing chorus.  This song was initially released in 1987 on the B-side of the 45 Tramp.  Perhaps, even Salt-N-Pepper underestimated the popularity of this night club hit, re-released a year later as its own single.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved, Psalm 55:22.

In the passage above, King David writes about his broken heart.  After being confronted by the prophet Nathan, David’s adultery with Bathsheba was exposed.  Caught in a web of lies that culminated in the death of Uriah, David had no one else to blame.  Filled with anguish, David dropped to his knees, pleading with God to receive forgiveness.  Although this wasn’t done physically, David mentally pushed all of the burdens he was carrying, placing each upon the feet of God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:28-29.

In the first century, Jesus takes push it to a new level.  Understanding the human condition, Jesus verbalized the pain which many try to cope with alone.  However, Jesus encourages individuals to take the burdens  bringing you down and place them at the foot of the cross.  Holding on to this baggage will only wear people out over the long haul.  Therefore, don’t put this off any further.  Rather, push it, laying all your burdens upon a God of grace and forgiveness.

by Jay Mankus