FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART December 4, 2023
As you know, there is all kinds of “stuff” on the Internet, good and bad. Yet, my article today was inspired by a quote I found on Facebook. It starts with: “Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people.” It is easy for us to recognize the failures and faults of others. If we are honest, we identify them so readily because we struggle with some of the same issues. Instead, we need to be looking for the good in others. We should encourage people to do their best and be the best at whatever God has called them to do.
We should also pray to have “a heart that forgives the worst.” The Bible has much to say about the need to be forgiving of others. However, the strongest language is found in “the Model Prayer” in Luke 11:4, where Jesus taught the disciples to pray: “And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” In “the Sermon on the Mount,” He taught to pray: “forgive us out debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This places a high value on our willingness to forgive the misdeeds of others. As a people who have been forgiven much by God, we should have forgiving hearts toward those who have wronged us.
We are to pray for “a mind that forgets the bad.” I am at a stage of life where I forget a lot of things. Unfortunately, I remember the things that I should let go of, and forget the things that need to be remembered. Unlike God, many of us struggle with forgiving and forgetting! Even when we are convinced that we have forgiven others, we cannot put the thoughts of the hurts from the past out of our minds. This raises serious questions about the genuineness of our forgiveness. We need to be like God, who said: “I will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
The final line in the quote is that we should pray for “a soul that never loses faith in God.” When I reflect on my sixty-nine years of life, I can see the hand of God at work throughout my lifetime. There were plenty of times when He was far from my mind, as I chose to go my own way. Yet, I cannot recall a single moment when He was not there for me, when I called upon Him. I know that God is ever faithful and present in my life, as He is in yours! I pray that in the busyness of the holiday season we will all take time to recall the many ways that God has blessed our lives, and reflect that in the way that we respond to those around us.
Serving in love, Bro. Jim