Tag Archives: Fogiveness

Two Contrasting Images

As I continue my meditation on being conformed to the image of Christ (see my last two posts),  I ask, “What then do I mortify?”  –  “What constitutes my sinful nature?”.

In Colossians 3:5, Paul says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry.”  He further elaborates in the same chapter, verses 8-10.  “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Is it possible to follow Paul’s instructions in Colossians and still not fully reflect the image of Christ?  “Is there something more?”,  I ask.

In Philippians 2, as Paul calls us to humility, he reminds us that our Lord did not consider equality with God something to be grasped – that he made himself nothing, taking on the nature of a servant, the likeness of man – he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.   Luke reports in his gospel in chapter 23:34 that while in his agony on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

To look like Jesus, to be conformed to his image in his death, means I must mortify my pride and my desire for revenge.  To reflect the image of the Savior I must surrender my will to the will of the Father, and I must forgive.

I recently watched the movie Philomena.  At the end of the movie there was a confrontation between Philomena and a nun that graphically illustrates how mortifying just the flesh alone will not result in conformity to our Lord Jesus.  The nun, who had put to death her sexual urges, held herself self-righteously above Philomena, who had been an unwed mother.   The nun lied without remorse and issued no apology for having prevented Philomena’s birth son from finding Philomena before his death. The confrontation between the two women ended with Philomena saying, “Well, I forgive you.”   The contrast between the two  women was stark.  The one woman looked like Jesus and the other one did not resemble him at all.

Dear Father,  I want to look like Jesus.  I want to be like him   Please help me mortify my pride and all desire for revenge.  Help me to forgive each time I am wounded.  Amen

Did you like this? Share it:

No Forgiveness Without Forgiveness

Jesus taught:   “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14-15)  This lesson came back to me recently when two women shared their intersecting stories on different days in my home under the safety of my roof. 

The first woman, young in age and young in faith,  was afraid she had disappointed God.  She has not forgiven someone in her life.  When she has thought about the offense she suffered, she has become so anxious, she abruptly closed the door on the  memories and did not do the work of forgiveness.  What she has wanted to do, she has been unable to do.  I assured her that God knows her heart and he knows her flesh.  I said that he knows she can’t forgive without his power.   I challenged her to cry out for him to supply the power she needs to forgive.   I shared my opinion.  Since then, I have wondered whether I told her God’s truth.   Was my counsel consistent with Scripture?

The second woman, middle in age and old in faith,  said God had done a mighty work of healing in her life.  The healing has resulted in her being able to forgive the mother of her step sister – the woman who took her father away from her mother and broke up her family.   This heartache was a long time ago.  The healing has been a long, arduous journey with Jesus to the destination of an unlikely friendship and collaboration with the woman who hurt her so deeply.

I cherish these women and their stories, and I wonder.   How do we forgive?   How does God’s healing free us to forgive?  How do we appropriate God’s power to forgive?

Did you like this? Share it: