This is the most important time in a Christian’s year. The death and resurrection of God’s beloved Son and our glorious King.
However, we attend the church services and listen wholeheartedly to the sermons, but when the weekend is over we forget to live the lives from what we just learnt in church. We don’t walk the walk. How can we take the themes of Christ’s sacrifice for us and apply it this weekend, and ultimately extend it to the rest of our lives?
Obviously we have to encompass all of Christ’s goodness, purity and mind into our lives consistently; but I’ve chosen four themes to focus on this weekend, and really apply them diligently, so that by the time Easter is over I can have a stronger grasp of applying them: mercy, grace, forgiveness and love.
“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” Luke 6:36
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” Matt 5:7
God has granted us overflowing mercy by providing us with redemption, but being merciful can be a tough one for anyone to master. Our flesh detests mercy and prefers to inflict physical and psychological harm!
How can we be merciful? A person who is merciful is basically compassionate. It is realising that we are all sinners and no one is perfect.
Mercy relates to grace. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve, while grace is getting what you don’t deserve. So forget the offence and hurt done against you. Do kind things without wanting to be thanked for them in return. Doing this glorifies God because we are obeying His commandments and are a reflection of His wonderful mercy.
Luke 6:37 “…Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Matt 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
As humans, sometimes it feels like that if we don’t respond to an offense with bitterness, anger and even revenge, we have let the offender “get away with what they have done to us.”
But God let us get away with our sinful natures, through Jesus! It is an alarming thought to me that if I don’t forgive someone God won’t forgive me! And I need a lot of forgiveness! That verse is so important to me that often I ask God to bring to my mind anyone I have not forgiven in my past or present, because sometimes we don’t even realise we are harbouring unforgiveness for someone.
Do you know what a simple test is? This is how I test myself: If you think you have truly forgiven someone, assess your reaction to them when you are in their presence (or even if you think about them) – how do you feel? What thoughts are going through your mind? If any thought or feeling is ungodly or works against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5), you need to ask God to help you to truly forgive that person. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”
Forgetting is not forgiving! It will creep up on you. But forgiving will help you forget it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
God loves us through all our faults and weaknesses. His Son had to die for a wretched species. Yet He loves us still.
How can you honour God by showing love this weekend?
Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). When your spouse or child, for example, does something to start welling up feelings of irritation in you, remember how God was patient with you 5 minutes ago when you sinned! My husband is such a wonderful model of kindness and patience for me. When I’m having a bad day and so desperately want to throw a tantrum, he always turns the other cheek, or gives me a hug and responds to me with gentleness. You will find that if you respond to the other person in an attitude of love and kindness, it very quickly diffuses the entire situation.
Dear Readers, I encourage you this weekend to model these themes with me of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Let us be a light to those around us so that the world can see what true Christianity is really all about – mercy and love to a lost world. Let our Father be glorified!