Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Wednesdays with Words: Willingly Take Away
We heard two very powerful sermons on Sunday. Our pastors take great care with their preparations and the words they choose to select. In the morning our Associate Pastor has been preaching through The Lord's Prayer. This week he was preaching on the fifth petition: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Pastor Kirklin talked about forgiveness, taking John Calvin's definition from the Institutes (Of Prayer, Where the Prayer of Our Lord is Explained, The Fifth petition) and showing how not forgiving dehumanizes. Calvin's exhortation is to use our wills to choose forgiveness by putting away those thoughts and feelings which are dangerous to ourselves and the one we must forgive:
I couldn't quite get the quote down during the sermon, but loved it immediately. I love the balance of willingly putting away those thoughts and ruinous emotions and then releasing "ill will." The working together of the reason, conscience, and affections is a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for us.
I appreciate that forgiving here is letting go of the thoughts that ensnare our minds, that we don't go down mental spirals of hatred, fear, and malice. We recognize that vengeance is the Lord's, He will repay. We are freed from the effects of storing up anger and resentment.
One last note, and I loved this and put it as my quote in my Daybook on Monday, is "God gives us what he requires from us." Forgiving is hard, Jesus - of all people - knows this. He forgave even in the midst of his excrutiating time on the cross, the least forgivable act in all of eternity. God requires us to forgive, but he gives us what we need, even when it is seemingly impossible. For nothing is impossible with God.