God does not stop loving us every time we do something wrong, and neither should we stop loving ourselves and each other for being less than perfect.
Harold Kushner in How Good Do We Have to Be?
We can be very angry when someone else makes a mistake. We even get angry at ourselves when we can’t do things the right way. We are hard on ourselves and others. We ostracize people, and turn others against them. We are not very forgiving. We may say “I forgive you” and still hold a grudge. We are not very kind.
If we ask God’s forgiveness he will forgive us. We have to believe that we are forgiven. Sometimes that is hard to accept. Also forgiving others requires work on our part. We have to live out the forgiveness whether it is there or not. Eventually it will come.
When we are hurt it can be so difficult to forgive. We often nurse the hurt so that we can carry it with us. That only hurts us as well as the other person. We can’t continue to dwell on hurts but have to let them go. Doing so opens the chance for understanding and friendship.
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Free will gives us the ability to make wrong choices. Sometimes those choices hurt other people. Sometimes the mistakes hurt us. The fact that we made a mistake is not important. What is important is that we acknowledge the mistake and learn from it. God knows that we will err and forgives us.
It is so easy to hold onto grudges and past hurts. We can actually enjoy chewing over the hurt and savoring our pain. We can think back and relive the emotions and it gives us a kind of satisfaction.
This kind of thinking is toxic. The only person being harmed by it is us. God has promised us forgiveness of our own mistakes. How can we approach him with these thoughts foremost in our minds. To heal ourselves we must let go of hurtful memories and discard grudges. That healing will bring us to God ready for forgiveness.
8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.[a]
With war always looming on the horizon, I wish that the whole world would hear words of peace. We must make God very sad with all the hatred and violence that goes on in the world some of the worst of it in the name of God. Even his faithful people don’t hear his voice. None of us are exempt.
The Hebrew word shalom means fullness having everything you need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s easy to be peaceful when you have everything you need. That’s where the world’s problems are. Not everyone has what they need much less what they want.
Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If I want my neighbor to be happy and fulfilled as much as I want that for myself then things will be good.
Frederick Buechner says “for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”
Prayer: Lord God of peace, let us grow in love toward you and our neighbor until wars cease and shalom rains. Support us with your Holy Spirit and surround us with your love, now and forever. Amen
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. …
We are all human. We make mistakes. Not one of us is perfect. Always be ready to ask forgiveness for the things we do wrong and know that Christ has died to grant us forgiveness.
We all know people that we would love to have suffer for the wrongs that they have done. We would love to see evil befall them. However, God tells us that no matter how much we want to see them suffer it is not our place to take vengeance.
So many evils in this world come abut because of someone’s selfish, uncaring ways. People are hurt or seriously damaged and we can’t understand how they can get away with continuing to live that way and nothing happens. It seems that the good suffer and the evil thrive. How can God let this happen. That is one of the most difficult questions but part of the hope we see is here in these verses. It is definitely fearful to fall into the hands of the living God and have to answer for how we lived. Trust the Lord.
Prayer: Loving God, help us to trust you to render judgement. Remind us that is not our place but yours. We are called to forgive instead of seeking vengeance. Help us to follow in the ways of our Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN
23 To watch over mouth and tongue is to keep out of trouble.
Recently I was with someone who has been struggling with illness. It has caused some problems with mental abilities and the result can be disturbing. Memories are skewed and sometimes things are said that really hurt. It is hard to remember that the memories are not accurate and the words spoken come from a disoriented place.
Words can hurt. We have to be careful about using our mouths to upset someone else. My father used to say “put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.”….something we all need to keep in mind.
In the case of those who can’t monitor their words forgiveness and understanding are important. The rest of us have no excuse.
For our sins have risen higher than our heads, and our mistakes have mounted up to heaven
There is no one who hasn’t made mistakes. If anyone claims that they haven’t they are mistaken. Some mistakes are minor and some of monumental proportions. Some don’t matter and some cause profound hurt. When we think about mistakes we also need to consider forgiveness. Forgiveness can be hard but we are called to forgive no matter what. We may have to work at it and it may take time.
None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. God knows that we cannot be perfect. He doesn’t expect it. He forgives our mistakes. Mistakes are fine as long as we learn from them. Hopefully we won’t make the same mistakes more than once.