Forgiving Ourselves

Steve Arterburn

For most of the wrongs you’ve done, you’re probably grateful and eager to accept God’s forgiveness. But sometimes we’re so shocked or ashamed or heartbroken over what we’ve done that we find it hard to believe that God could really forgive us. Yet God does forgive and he desires to restore you. He wants to redirect the course of your life for his service. But this can’t begin until you receive God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

Peter had once sworn his love for Jesus. He pledged even to die with Jesus if necessary. Yet that same night after Jesus was arrested, Peter sheepishly denied that he even knew Jesus. Jesus wasn’t surprised; he had already told Peter that Peter would deny knowing him three times. Jesus was ready to forgive Peter before he even betrayed Jesus. But Peter had a hard time forgiving himself.

After Jesus rose from the dead he asked Peter three times if Peter loved him. Peter had denied him three times and so Jesus gave him the chance to reaffirm his love three times. Jesus reached out to Peter.

When you’re disheartened by the things you’ve done, it can be difficult to receive God’s forgiveness. But God reaches out to us. Once you confess your sins, you need to let go of them. Find encouragement through the story of Peter. Once he accepted forgiveness, God was able to build him up and use him for His great purposes.

Two Changed Men

Steve Arterburn

What words would your friends or family use to describe you? Jesus referred to two brothers’James and John’as Sons of Thunder. Why? We’re given a glimpse of their fiery personalities in the Bible. After some people rejected them, James and John asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to consume the village. Jesus rebuked them for their impulse to retaliate.

Yet that’s not the end of their story. Jesus worked in these brothers’ lives so that they became known for love and forgiveness.

Though the two brothers had once been ambitious for their own personal gain, they became ambitious to share God’s love with others. The brothers discovered that when you understand and experience God’s love, you are free to live and grow. And as you grow and share with others, you be used by God to touch the lives of many in need of God’s healing help.

Can you relate to the anger and selfish ambition of these men? If so, be encouraged by God’s work in their lives. He wants to do the same in you!

Letting Go Of Hatred

Steve Arterburn

 

 

It’s easy to say you love God but how do you show it?  God’s hoping you’ll show it by loving other people. In fact, God has so intertwined your love for Him with love for others that when you seek and surrender to Him, He requires that you give up your hatred and prejudice.

In first John chapter four, the apostle John wrote: ‘God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them’If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?  God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.’

Men, God simply doesn’t give us the option of hating our brothers and sisters while loving Him.  In fact, He doesn’t even give you the option of hating your enemies.  Jesus said, ‘But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you’ (Luke 6:27-28). Boy, that’s a revolutionary kind of love.

The bottom line is this: surrendering to God means surrendering your hatred as well.  And that, my friend, is something you can’t do on your own ‘ you need to depend upon God’s love, residing in you, to do that.