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Lent Devotional • Day 25

Day 25: Wednesday, March 30

Fourth Week of Lent: “Be Like Jesus with Commitment to Community”

 

Today’s Truth that Transforms:

“Forgiveness Is Essential to Community”

Scripture from Matthew and Ephesians 

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Ephesians 4

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(Eph. 4)

How are we “Transformed in Christ” and shaped to be more like Him?

Churches are social institutions. That means they are made of people. And though churches have lofty ideals and talk much about character, they often function like other social institutions. They can be filled with people who are critical, envious, and self-seeking. That is because churches are made of people like us, sinners. What then becomes the church’s most essential characteristic? Forgiveness. The distinguishing characteristic that Jesus gives the church is the power of forgiveness. That builds true community because people can place relationship and love for one another before the need to “simply do it my way.” Forgiveness flows from Jesus who has forgiven us far more than we could ever forgive others. Because of that, we build true community with forgiveness from Christ that we generously share with each other.  

How do you see this “Truth that Transforms” working in your life? 

The following is an application story written by Diana Stiner. After you read it, ask yourself the same question. “How do I see this ‘Truth that Transforms’ working in my life?

Several years ago, I found out, through others, that a very close friend was angry and hurt over something that person thought that I did (but hadn’t), and there was a definite misunderstanding. If we had been able to talk and pray together, I feel that the

misunderstanding would have been cleared up and the friendship restored. Even though I attempted to follow the teachings of Mt.18 and seek forgiveness and forgive where needed, this person would not communicate with me. It was very heartbreaking for me and something that could have been resolved, but instead, the person has never spoken to me again.

So, what do you do when the desire for reconciliation is not reciprocated? Through much prayer, I first acknowledged my hurt and grieved the loss of a friend. As the Psalms teach us, I lamented my hurt and frustration to the Lord and asked the Holy Spirit to empower me to, as Ephesians 4:32 says, forgive and be tenderhearted and

compassionate toward my friend. So, the way that I see this truth transforming my life is, first of all, quickly seek reconciliation, do not let too much time pass. Secondly, there may be times where reconciliation together with the other person may not be possible. However, I can still, with the Lord’s help, forgive, give the situation to the Lord, and pray blessing over that person.