Archives For forgiveness
Ernest Gordon was a prisoner held by the Japanese during WW2. The captors in his camp were forced to build a railroad through the jungle and over the River Kwai. The prisoners were treated inhumanely and soon fell into living the law of the jungle where every man was out for himself.
At the end of each day, the tools were counted. One day, it was discovered a shovel was missing. A guard became enraged and demanded to know who had stolen it. When nobody confessed, he screamed, “All die! All die!” He raised his gun to shoot the first man in line when suddenly, a man stepped out of the ranks and said, “I did it.”
The guard began furiously kicking and beating the man. He eventually brought down the butt of his rifle on the man’s head. As the man fell motionless to the ground, the guard continued to kick him. After the violence stopped, the prisoners carried the man’s body back to the camp.
That evening, the tools were recounted and it was discovered there were no missing shovels. There had been a miscount. The man was innocent and sacrificed his life to save his fellow prisoners.
The man’s selfless sacrifice changed the attitude in the camp. Everyone began looking out for their fellow prisoner. Hatred was still present but there was also love. Death did not stop but there was also life. (Gordon, Ernest. Miracle on the River Kwai. Collins Publishers, 1963.)
This story reminds me of Jesus’ sacrifice. If you’ve ever wondered about this sacrifice, the following are some questions I’ve received along with answers.
Why does God hate sin?
- Because sin separates us from Him.
“But the trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God. Because of sin he has turned his face away from you and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2
So there’s punishment for sin?
- The punishment for sin is death. I don’t like it any more than you but we don’t make the rules. God does. So yes, there is punishment and it’s harsh.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15
Is there a way to get out of this punishment?
- Absolutely! And it is so easy! Through Jesus!
I don’t get it! How does Jesus make a difference?
- Just as the man stepped out of ranks to take the punishment for the missing shovel, Jesus steps in front of us and takes our death sentence for us.
“He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on. For his wounds have healed ours!” 1 Peter 2:24
We all die. So I don’t understand how this saves me from death.
- We do not avoid death in this life. But death is just a doorway to spending eternity in heaven with God or in hell without Him. God loves us and wants our eternity to be spent with Him so He provided the ultimate sacrifice. I would die for my children but I wouldn’t sacrifice them for anybody. My love has a limit. God’s love doesn’t.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
So what exactly do I have to do to be saved?
- Believe Jesus is the Son of God, He came to live as a man on this earth, He died for your sins, and overcame the bonds of death by rising again on the 3rd
“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’” Acts 16:30-31
- Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Simply pray: “Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God and that you came to earth and died for my sins and rose again on the 3rd day. I confess that I am a sinner and in need of your salvation. I come to you now and ask that you will come into my life, be my Lord and savior, and forgive me of my sins. In Jesus’ name, amen!”
It’s that simple. Next week I’ll explain the next steps and changes that occur with this decision. Meanwhile, I would LOVE for you to message me if you prayed this prayer.
© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson
“I can do it Grandpa, I promise!!” My argument continued to fall on deaf ears as I tried to convince my grandpa I could indeed jump off the dock on the lake and not drown. He continued to silently rock back and forth on the porch swing that hung from the big, shady oak tree by the lake. This was one of his favorite spots on his property. But I was destroying the peace he loved so much.
Maybe he didn’t hear me. “GRANDPA!! I’M ABLE TO SWIM, I PROMISE!” The desperation to take that coveted leap may have made me embellish my 1 lesson in the water that barely consisted of introductions and instructions to never talk your grandpa into allowing you to jump off a dock into a deep lake until all water education was completed.
However, I was a very busy 8-year old at the time! I had rocks to skip, tadpoles to catch, trees to climb, grandparents to manipulate. There was no time for this silly nonsense of actually learning before leaping.
Besides, my cousin, Shelley, 5 months my junior was always allowed to jump off the dock into the lake. When my grandpa tried to explain Shelley had taken several months of swim lessons in the very lake by which we argued, he was met with a scoffing sound. I looked around for the rude person who would have the nerve to be so disrespectful to my short-tempered grandfather. Unfortunately, I realized I was that person.
My irritated and exasperated grandpa, tired of the fight, decided it was pointless to continue to argue with a stubborn child who insisted in learning things on her own. “Go jump in the lake!” he yelled.
I bolted from the swing before he could change his mind, ran straight onto the dock, and splashed through the puddles left from the many flying leaps my cousin had already taken from the “stationary diving board.”
As soon as my toes touched the end of the platform, I jumped and sailed through the air, arms outstretched. Feeling the wind in my hair, I closed my eyes and enjoyed my moment of victory and took pleasure that I was doing something my parents would surely incarcerate me in my room for later. But right now, I was free and I was going to squeeze every bit of pleasure I could from this adventure.
Relishing the moment a bit too long, I forgot to take a breath before plunging into the dark, murky water. Only taking into consideration how to get into the water, I had not given thought to how to get out. It was then I realized the wisdom in the advice to learn to swim before leaping.
It seemed like minutes as I sank deeper and deeper underwater. Wondering when I would stop, I suddenly felt my feet sink into the squishy, gooey mud at the bottom, leaving nothing hard in which to push off. Already feeling as if my lungs were on fire, I began to flail my arms and legs in an attempt to reach the top that felt 100 feet above.
Disoriented, I could only wonder if I was traveling upwards toward that cool breath of fresh air or if I was just spinning in circles. My lungs screamed for air. I couldn’t hold out much longer before my body would instinctively gasp for air only to take in dirty lake water.
Realizing I couldn’t save myself, I knew I needed Jesus! Nothing else mattered in that moment. Schoolwork, the fight with my sister, my cousin being able to do things I only wished I could, all of it went away.
It was just me and Jesus.
I prayed for Jesus to save me. It was in that moment my hands escaped the pressure of the water and felt the freedom of fresh air. Finally my mouth and nose broke through the surface and I was able to gasp for air. I choked and sputtered while thrashing around, trying not to be swallowed by the water again.
Suddenly, I felt strong hands grab me under my arms and pull me to the safety of the dock. My grandpa stood looking down at my face as I lay on the dock, sucking in as much air as humanly possible. We stared at each other too shocked to say anything for a full minute. When I finally stopped choking up water, he said, “I told you!” and walked away. Gotta love a softhearted man.
Do you feel as if you’re drowning because of choices you’ve made? Are you flailing trying to save yourself knowing it’s futile? Call on Jesus! He can bring you back to the surface and provide a breath of fresh air. Give Him your mistakes. He’s the Master at taking our ashes and turning them into something beautiful. Ignore the “I told you’s.”
Nothing else matters at this moment. It’s you and Jesus. Call on Him. He’ll save you.
“…..He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…. to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes….” ~ Isaiah 61:1,3
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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson
From my guest post on Suzie Eller’s blog – http://tsuzanneeller.com/2013/07/08/forgive-to-live-frenemy-or-real-enemy/
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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson
Today, I’m guest blogging on Suzie Eller’s website regarding forgiveness. Please click over and check it out. http://tsuzanneeller.com/2013/07/08/forgive-to-live-frenemy-or-real-enemy/#more-6097. Suzie is a Proverbs 31 speaker and author. Her latest book is The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.
She talked with my entire family except me. When I tried to engage her in a conversation, she snubbed me and walked away. Confused, I asked a mutual friend why this person would be upset with me. Apparently, this woman was under the impression I insulted her father-in-law and she was quite angry with me.
I called and tried to seek her out to ask about the situation and offer my apology but she would have nothing to do with me. Whenever I see her, she makes it clear she is unwilling to forgive.
Have you ever sought forgiveness only to be rejected?
What are we to do with the hurt and rejection from those who are not interested in forgiving our mistakes or unwilling to talk though misunderstandings?
- Do not allow the hurt to result in more damage. Hurt can sometimes cause us to react negatively and say things we will later regret. Our goal should be to repair the relationship. This cannot be done if we continue to further the damage.
- Once a sincere apology is offered, there is no need to continue apologizing about the situation.
- Continue to be a good friend. Try to engage in conversation if the opportunity arises and if she is willing to speak, genuinely listen. If she is experiencing a crisis, drop off supper or send a card. Avoid coming on too strong by constantly seeking her out. Give her the space and time she needs.
- Pray for a resolution. Pray she will open her heart to you again and the rift will be healed. Pray for your own heart to heal from the hurt of rejection and to be patient in waiting for God to work in the situation.
Unfortunately, it’s been a few years now that my friend has been upset. I’ve accepted she may never forgive me. It saddens me but I’ve come to the realization some relationships just come to an end due to no fault of our own.
I continue to offer friendly greetings upon seeing her and attempt conversation. However, God has healed my heart of the hurt and has helped me move on even as I continue to pray and hope for a reconciliation someday.
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©2013 Connie Davie Johnson