Posts Tagged forgiveness


by Roger Severino
Photo credit: Joe Hendricks
Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship – Leadership Minister

  1. We are encouraged to approach God as “Father.”  That may not sound that significant to us, but it was pretty radical coming off the lips of Jesus to His disciples.  Though the concept of God as Father is not absent in the Old Testament or prior to Jesus, the intimacy of “Abba, Father” is a drastic introduction.  We approach a good, loving, and merciful Father.  Prayer is relational.
  2. We must honor God as holy when we pray.   To honor His name as holy is to honor God as holy, because in biblical language the name represents the person.  Recognizing the holiness of God is recognizing that He is separate from us, and that He is perfect.  The intimacy of calling God “Father” is balanced by the recognition that we approach Him with deep reverence and respect (even fear, in the right sense).
  3. God desires that we pray for His work to be done on earth.  All things in heaven are in submission to God’s sovereign and perfect rule.  Take one look around you, and it is pretty clear that this is not how things are where we live.  What are God’s views about justice?  About love?  About people turning to Him and away from their destructive path?  About the blessing of well-being for all, including those on the margins of society?  How should this guide your prayer?
  4. We trust God for His provisions.  We worry about a lot of things.  Most of our anxieties in our society are first-world problems, not where we will get our next meal.  Trusting God for His provision of our needs (not necessarily our “wants”) demonstrates that we have faith and trust in God, and that we are satisfied with what He provides.  We pray for these things because it demonstrates our reliance on God for His provisions.
  5. Forgiveness is an important key to life.  Most of us know that we are in desperate need to be forgiven by God, not because we are axe murderers, but because of the selfishness, lust, greed, and pride that reside within us.  But Jesus doesn’t let us simply receive forgiveness.  He demands that we demonstrate it to others.  In fact, the test of whether we understand that we have received God’s undeserved forgiveness is that we forgive others in the same way.
  6. We look for God’s help to overcome evil.  God’s great desire for His children is that we be conformed more into the image of His Son (see Romans 8:29).  To become more like Jesus, we must surrender more of ourselves to God and allow Him to transform us.  That means that we look to God to help us overcome temptations and to persevere through trials.

Pursuing Reconciliation When a Relationship is Broken

by Roger Severino
Photo credit: Joe Hendricks
Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship – Leadership Minister

Recently, I wrote reflective questions about pursuing reconciliation based on Matthew 5:23-26. To read the JourneyOn Today passage and reflective questions, click here.
I could tell that this passage and theme touched a nerve when I began receiving emails from various readers.
One person shared that she pulled away from a few family members because of toxic circumstances, but that she was feeling led to pursue reconciliation and open the lines of communication. Here was my response:

I don’t know all your story or circumstances, but let me affirm that I do believe there are appropriate times of distancing oneself from a group (i.e. family) in order to deal with a dysfunction, abusive relationship, etc. My sense is that you were not wrong to set this boundary, and perhaps that was a necessary step towards relational health.

At the same time, it seems that the Lord may have you at a healthy enough place to open up the lines of communication and pursue reconciliation. If that is the case, I pray for His wisdom and grace as you take the needed steps.

Another question came from a friend asking about a believer’s responsibility if they are the ones who have been offended? Other than a willingness to forgive, are we called to pursue reconciliation in this situation? Here was my attempt to address this difficult question:

I think it depends on the circumstances, but certainly there is cause for prayer and seeking God’s wisdom. Sometimes pursuing forgiveness in our heart is all we can do. But sometimes the Lord may be calling us to do more. Even if we are the one offended, sometimes the Lord may lead us to seek out reconciliation. . . As Romans 5:6-8 reminds us, it was while we offended God that He demonstrated His love and pursued reconciliation with us through the cross.

How about you? Does this topic touch a nerve? Does your mind and heart drift to that ruptured relationship? Often, there is not a formulaic answer or “one-size-fits-all” response. But are you willing to surrender this relationship to Christ? Are you willing to be obedient and do what the Lord is calling you to do? What does it look like to love? To forgive? To be reconciled?
The path of following Christ is never an easy one. But it is the path of life.