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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’


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Have you ever had someone ask you to pray about something with which they are struggling? Or, maybe they are just always talking about the same problem in their life. It is like they never move on or learn. They are stuck; stuck in sin.

Maybe that someone is a kid. As a parent you try and teach kids to do the right thing. When they make a mistake you want them to learn from it and move on and not repeat it. If they come to tell you of a mistake hoping you will be so proud of their admitting it do you forgo the consequences? Wonder where they get such an idea? Have you ever approached God that way?

Mistakes happen. When we keep repeating them they are no longer mistakes. With few exceptions, our mistakes are sin. Sin has consequences. Without them you could sin every Saturday and repent every Sunday. I have known people like that; once is a mistake, twice a habit and then a lifestyle. They make a show every Sunday but, come Monday they’re back in the rut.

Consequences help us to remember we made a mistake. When we truly repent then we turn and return no more to the same place that causes us to repeat the mistakes. Forgiveness of sin upon true repentance is given by our Lord freely. However, that doesn’t guarantee erasing of consequences. God may erase them but, more than likely He will allow you to grow through them. Most of us return to our comfort zone of sin if we are not
reminded by consequences why we turned from them.

If The Lord shows us an area in our life we need to turn from and we repent, we can lean on His power to not return to that sin. If His grace erases consequences too, you are truces blessed. If not, accept what consequences there are and grow.

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In early 1970 comedian Flip Wilson’s debuted his famous skit  “The devil* Made Me Do It”.

“___ made me do it”

It was funny but, in a sad way so true.   When we are doing something wrong we blame the devil*.  It’s human nature to blame “the other guy”; your kids do it all the time don’t they?  Where do you think they get it?  Kids learn from us initially.  Oh, sometimes they learn it at school, off the TV or from the videos.  But, it boils down to they learn it from you.  Even if you do not do it, if you do not stop them from doing something wrong, then you have taught them wrong.

It is sad that so many are living in sin when we have the manual on how not to sin in hundreds of languages all over the world.  The Bible tells us who sins, what is sin and what the consequences of sin are.  Blame it on your upbringing?  Blame it on genetics?  Blame it on the devil?

Here is how I explain sin.  My family has a history of alcoholism in previous generations.  My father, the youngest of eight children, watched all of his elder siblings drink themselves to death.  Between the ages of 10-12 years of age, I attended so many funerals of my father’s siblings and offspring … all related to alcohol.  My father never drank.  It was obvious there was a genetic tendency to alcoholism.  My dad chose NOT to give into that tendency and he never allowed alcohol in our home.  He raised us all knowing we had that tendency as a possibility.  My oldest brother chose to ignore dad’s teachings and has ruined his life with alcohol (as well as his family’s lives).  When we choose to disobey, we choose to sin; we choose the consequences.  Sadly, we inflict those consequences on all those around us; family and even innocent bystanders (drunk drivers ruin innocent lives daily and walk away unscathed).  So, who is to blame?  God?  Certainly not.  Genetics … bad home live … poor environment … the bottom line is, it is your choice.  Why would anyone choose to be a drunk, ruin their life, be mocked, hated and shunned?  Bottom line, because they choose to, no one makes them, they choose their life.  I chose never to taste alcohol, never to allow it in my life.  My choice.  I am not perfect.  I have other sins I have to choose not to do as well.  I have an all powerful God to strengthen me and help me with my choices.  I cannot do it in my own strength.  I have to choose to sin; only I can choose to stop sinning.  One step leads to the next but, the first step is always your choice, make it.  Once you make that first step, get help if you need it.  Sometimes people need help and there are wonderful organizations, support groups, doctors, etc. out there to help.  But it takes your choice to take the first step to stop sinning.

WHO SINS?: Romans 3:23(NASB)for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”  1 John 1:8 (KJV)If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

WHAT IS SIN?: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11(ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.    1Timothy 1:8-16(ESV) 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 12 I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.

WHY IS IT SIN?:Isaiah 59:1-2 (HCSB) “Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear.
But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you
so that He does not listen.”

HOW CAN WE BE SAVED FROM SIN?: 1 Peter 2:24 (NASB) “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” Romans 10:9(HCSB)If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB) “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”  John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

All sin separates us from God.  There are no ‘worse’ sins, my sin makes me as big a sinner as the next person, although some sins have more consequences here on earth.  If you sin, you chose to sin; you choose to be separated from God.  You, and you alone, choose your consequences here on earth… and ultimately in eternity.  Don’t blame “the other guy, you’re upbringing, etc.”, you have a choice.

*devil, satan – I know people capitalize the “S” or “D” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

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Don't Go To Bed MAD!

I really do not remember when I was taught the concept, however, I do know I always taught my girls to ‘never go to bed mad’.  Walking out of the room and cooling down before you say something you will regret is one thing, but, allowing it to fester and develop in to real ‘soul’ problems between one another is sin.  It also can be very hard to live with should a tragedy strike before you resolve an issue.  Remember, words out of the mouth cannot go back in any easier than pushing toothpaste back in the tube.

Today is my middle brother Bobby’s birthday.  He was killed in a plane crash in 1997.  Earlier that day he called me about something to do with the new church our families were helping start.  It was a good talk, we laughed and we said “love you” .   (I have an earlier blog post about helping children through HARD TIMES).  I have always been so thankful that we talked that morning.  Two hours later I received the phone call that his plane had catastrophic engine failure and crashed.  He was gone in a blink of an eye.

Growing up Bobby picked on me, A LOT!  It is safe to say we did not get along and I did not always like him.  As adults he actually apologized, I let go of my hard feelings and we became very close and I am so glad.  It made me want to make sure my girls, Rebekah and Victoria, did not go through this problem.  I wanted them to be close.  I had the threat of, “if you two keep arguing I will make you sit facing each other, knees touching, holding hands and smiling for five minutes” as a tool.  If they stopped smiling in that five minutes I would add a minute.  (I actually used this in elementary school classrooms to stop bickering girls.  It really works.)

Bobby was a young 49 years old.  He was a strong Christian, a trustee in the new church and very active in his community.  The future looked great for him.  He was living the good life, very successful and well liked.  It is hard when the good die young.   Victoria lost a close friend to cancer at 9 years old.  One of my nephews died of a brain tumor in his 30’s.  No one knows what tomorrow holds; we are not even guaranteed the rest of today.  It is important to keep your accounts ‘short’ and to teach your children to do so as well (remember they are watching).  I am glad that through the years  I taught my girls to  resolve issues and never ‘go to bed mad’ as much as is humanly possible.

God’s word says:

Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”

There will be some accounts that they can not resolve.  However, they should have their side in order with God’s word.  They should not go to bed angry.  Teach them to ‘let it go’.  Growing up in our church on New Year’s we had a Watch Night Service.   Everyone was given a piece of bread and about 15 minutes before midnight we spent the time going among the members giving each other a piece of bread of our bread and telling them we loved them.  It was a ‘love feast’.  The idea was to use the time to bury hatchets, apologize and leave the ‘old’ in the old year and start the New Year on right terms.

Keep your accounts short.  Your kids are watching.  If they see or know your anger towards someone, make sure they see or hear you make it right.  Do you have any phone calls or visits you need to make?

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