Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

You Are Forgiven – The Call to Forgiveness

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Week Five – Day Three – Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

Read ROMANS 12:17-21 (ESV)   SOAP v 21wk5d3

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

O – This passage is about MY responsibility in relationships.  Forgiveness is part of it, but it also includes MY pro-active role.  What does it say is our responsibility as Christians?

  • Don’t repay evil for evil – no retaliation or “getting even…”
  • Do what is honorable in the sight of all – what is the “right” thing to do? – “take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone” (AMP)
  • As far as it depends on ME – live at peace with everyone –
  • Don’t avenge evil – but leave it up to God.
  • Treatment of enemies – if they are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them drink; – in other words, meet their needs – and in so doing, you will “heap burning coals on their head” – AMP Bible note – “This may refer to an ancient Egyptian custom in which a penitent person carried a bowl of burning embers on his head to show his shame and guilt. By analogy, being kind to an enemy may lead him to shame and repentance.”
  • Do NOT be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good

A – When I was a child, I had a red hardcover book that I loved, “Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories.”  One of the ones that I remember well, and used to read to my own students, was one about Donovan, who had problems with a bully at school.  His father used the verse,  “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head” (Prov. 25:21-22; AND Romans 12:20) to help teach him how to deal with his enemy.  Donovan was thrilled to be able to “burn the meanness right out of him…”  by feeding the bully.  (You can read the story at http://www.happyhomeschooling.com/character-building-stories/  .

Why did that story stick with me?  I guess I liked the thought of “burning the mean-ness right out of him!”  But – it told a timeless truth…..   treating our enemies the way that WE would like to be treated really does change US!  Maybe not them, but it does change US!  And – maybe, if their hearts are not hardened, our enemies will change their own behavior.

What is the meaning of overcome?  Dictionary.com states “to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat” .  Do I let evil get the better of me?  Or – do I stomp on it and defeat it?  It is, again, a decision.  To NOT let it get the better of me!

What is the call to forgiveness?   It is my responsibility to do what is right in God’s sight…. To live at peace, to NOT avenge, to NOT repay evil for evil, to overcome evil with good.  My actions MUST be right – and the feelings will follow.  The Bible does not say that I have to “feel right” – but to “do right”.  God can change MY heart – if I follow Him in obedience.

P  – Father God – thank You for this reminder of DECIDING in my heart what to do in relationships.  You have promised to be with me.  You have asked me to change MY behavior.  You have said that YOU will take care of (have vengeance) unfair situations and enemies.  Father, help me to live at peace.  Your word says “as far as it depends on me…”   Help me to KNOW what depends on me in those tricky relationships.  And – guide my conversations and actions, so that they are pleasing to You.  Amen.

 

Do Something – Matthew West – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8

“Do Something”
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something [x3]

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