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Forgiven series: Forgiving yourself
Sunday 27th March


One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbour as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Mark 12:28-34 

 

Recap:

 

We have been talking about love and forgiveness as a supernatural gateway that God by his grace opens in our innermost being. Forgiveness is the way of life for the new creation. As the people of God, it allows us to walk free in three ways, receiving forgiveness from God, forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. We spoke about how God gives us a fresh start in our lives and forgives us and even though our debt of sin was so big God’s forgiveness is a free gift of grace. Forgiveness releases us from the bondage of sin. God is looking for Repentance, not just regret or pay some penance. God’s Forgiveness brings a real change of heart and mind.

 

Thought:

 

In our scripture today we see some of the religious people, whom Jesus had a hard time with, finally give up confronting him. Jesus’ answer seemed to satisfy the scribes (writers of the law). Jesus summarises the law in love, both for God (Duet 6:4-5)) and for one another (Lev 19:18). Condensing not only the 10 commandments, but the 600 that others, came up with to surround the law in Leviticus and later in the Mishnah. Micah the prophet made it 3, to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) Jesus' emphasis is not an abandoning of the commands but the fulfilment of them. When Jesus said ‘seek first the kingdom and his righteousness (Matt 6:33) many at that time, understood righteousness as how we treat others, by doing justice caring for the widow and the orphan not how we live in holiness towards God.

 

Ultimately by loving God and each other we are bringing the good into existence and into being by excepting our responsibility. Accepting responsibility in the way we honour God, it is no coincidence here that the kind of love God is looking for us heart, mind and soul. The entire fabric of our lives is bound together by our love for God. This is why what we believe is more than about what we say and reflects in our behaviour and what we do. 

 

The apostle John writes.

 

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

1 John 3:18-22 

 

Conflict arises within our hearts when we feel condemnation, the feeling when we live in contradiction to our conscience, what we know to be right and wrong. Of course, If we continue along the wrong path our conscience becomes seared and our hearts hardened as we get further from the truth we believe lies. (1 Tim 4:2) As we are integrated beings, our belief is substantiated by what we do. (Jas 1:22)

 

Loving of self.

 

Jesus speaks of our love for our neighbour as akin to our love for ourselves. If we say we believe in God, a divine power, then do we take the next step and believe that we are made in the image of God.

 

What is our image of ourselves, psychologists talk of the self in four ways? How you see yourself, How others see you, How you perceive others see you. How you perceive you see yourself.

 

Do we treat ourselves as someone who bears the image of God?

 

Do act out our beliefs in a ritual only? 

 

How do we love our neighbour as we love ourselves, what if we don’t love ourselves? 

 

Treating ourselves as we would someone whom we love.

 

Do we treat ourselves in the way that we would treat someone whom we love?

 

Do we allow enough self-reflection to discipline ourselves and confront ourselves with the purpose, by using truth and courage to guide us into a better way of being? By allowing ourselves to live a life absent of truth, justice, (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

 

Jesus speaks to the church in Revelation 3

 

I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

Revelation 3:19 

 

He continues to say I’m standing at the door and knocking. Will we open and let Christ come and dine with us?

 

Hebrews 12:5-11 speaks of how we are to be children of God and love the discipline of the Lord. When we raise our children we want the best for them, we encourage them to imitate us and we instruct them on what is the right and proper way to live. 

 

We discipline them when their words and actions do not conform to a healthy life and correct them showing them the right way to act concerning others. We do this because we love them. 

 

Do we love ourselves enough to disciple ourselves to gain knowledge and truth to help guide ourselves into a desired and proper way of living? There is purpose in all we do.

 

Children need love and encouragement to understand their value and place in the world. They are crucial beings whose ethical decisions play an important role in shaping the structure of their reality and they have a moral responsibility to behave in a way that demonstrates their value.

 

Raising children means that we don’t simply give in to all their demands, we know what is best for them we show them the way to live

 

When we respect ourselves we recognise that we are people worthy of love. We don’t simply do whatever we want regardless of the consequences.

 

What if we have seared our conscience and we have a hard time loving or forgiving ourselves.

 

Point 2

 

Forgiving ourselves Christ forgave us.

 

What do we say about ourselves, what is our self talk like? do we view ourselves as God sees us? do we understand that we are children of God? Washed cleansed and forgiven, can we say like Paul, I know no charge against myself, not for self-justification, but knowing that Christ himself declares me right with Him, whom I say differently. What God has called, clean whom am I to call it unclean.

 

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace, you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:4-6 - 

 

The writer of Hebrew makes the point that Christ’s sacrifice was not like the old system of constant sacrifice, Jesus Christ made it possible for us to approach God with a clean conscience and free from offence. Jesus sacrifice was once and for all time 

 

let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22 

 

Conclusion 

 

Ultimately by loving God and each other we are bringing the good into existence and into being by excepting our responsibility. Accepting responsibility in the way we honour God, it is no coincidence here that the kind of love God is looking for us heart, mind and soul. The entire fabric of our lives is bound together by our love for God. This is why what we believe is more than about what we say and reflects in our behaviour and what we do. 

 

Do we treat ourselves as someone who bears the image of God? Do we see ourselves as children of God?

 

Do we love ourselves enough to disciple ourselves to gain knowledge and truth to help guide ourselves into a desired and proper way of living? There is purpose in all we do.

 

What do we say about ourselves, what is our self talk like? do we view ourselves as God sees us? Washed cleansed and forgiven, can we say like Paul, I know no charge against myself, not for self-justification, but knowing that Christ himself declares me right with Him, whom am I to say differently. What God has called, clean whom am I to call it unclean.

 

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