[Calvary Chapel] 2015-12-03 - Prayer and Forgiveness

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Psalms 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Two days in a row have held horrific events. The reasons have been listed by those supporting their agendas generating friction and anger. Assumptions have been made when very few facts have been collected. Battle lines are drawn and redrawn. How do we respond?

James 1:5 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

It is easy to think that it happened so far away. "What can I do?"

Two powerful things come to mind. All of us can pray. We can kneel at the foot of the Throne of Grace and try to find in our hearts the wife that just became a widow, the son or daughter that just became an orphan, or the friend who watched their friend fall to the ground and never move again and wrap them in God's love and mercy.

Second, we must forgive. How do you forgive someone who came in and killed a dozen people? Don't give in to hate. Anger is part of grief. Rage is destructive. There was a shooting in an Amish school in October of 2006. The community, lead by the Grandfather of one of the girls who died, publicly forgave the shooter. No fingers were pointed. No lawsuits were filed. The shooter had shot himself. No action was taken against his relatives. The community supported the grieving families and each other.

A group from the Amish community visited the wife and children, the parents and the parents-in-law of the shooter. The forgiveness offered touched the lives of these family members. The father of the shooter is reported to have sobbed for as long as an hour held by one of the Amish men.

They touched hearts and ended what could have dragged on for an extended time. What could have been a cycle of frustration and resentment was given no soil in which to take root. This does not excuse the actions - the evil. Just as God forgives our sin when we truly repent there may still be consequences for our actions. The story of David and Bathsheba is a perfect example of this. David experienced God's mercy - unmerited favor - just as we who name Christ as our Savior have, but not without consequences.

1 Peter 3:12

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com

All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

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