Luke 11.4 Forgive us our sins and we forgive those who sin against
Recently I have been helping to decorate the Family Centre, which is part of our building complex at Henley Baptist Church. We packed up our painting tools the other week, having in our minds that we had finished doing the job, and completely changed the appearance of the grey walls with a bright yellow. Others came to inspect and pointed out that the grey which was there before was coming through in sections and needed some more work. In this past week I have gone around all the walls again with a third coat of paint.
It is easy for our old ungodly reactions to come to the surface at times, rather like the grey paint showing through the yellow – particularly when people have wronged us. We feel justified and want to put people straight. In the verse today we are encouraged to take a different approach. We simply forgive those who have wronged us. It is a very simple instruction but not so easy to do. Jesus demonstrated forgiveness as well as telling us to forgive. As he was being crucified, he said. “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”
Di and I received an anonymous letter this week with all sorts of untrue accusations. It was quite unpleasant and upsetting at the time. My old reaction would have been to ask lots of people who was responsible for this and confront them and reprimand them. However, I knew that the Jesus way would be to forgive like he did. I am very challenged by Bill Johnson who receives constant accusations and criticism for what he is doing in a thriving and Christ-centred Bethel Church. When he takes communion, he not only forgives the person attacking him, but prays for the Blessing of God on them and their family. I am trying to do the same.
By responding like this we prevent the old nature from showing through. As we join with the other churches in OpenGate today, we have been encouraged to stop and ask the father if we have any wrong things in our lives that need his forgiveness, as well as forgive anyone who has wronged us. In way we can know we are clean and guilt free. It is like having a fresh coat of paint.