Posted on Monday, Jun 27, 2022 by Scott Savage
Is there someone you have a hard time believing God could forgive?
A person who hurt you? People who have some sort of weakness or habit? Or maybe someone you see today that you feel is very unlike God.
I've found that we all have at least one person or one group of people that are harder to love and maybe even difficult to forgive.
One time, I was talking about people who are hard for us to love and forgive with a friend. She told me her mom once told her, "Honey, when you get to heaven, you will see people there that you never would've invited to dinner at your house."
That day, my friend and I reflected together on the fact that God is more gracious and loving than we are. His grace and healing extend much further than ours do.
The early church concluded in Acts 15, after much prayer and discussion, that God's healing power in salvation is available for everyone. This conclusion can be hard to swallow when we consider the way we view some people as beyond God's reach.
We might say amen or nod our heads in a church service when a preacher says "No one is beyond God's reach. The power of the cross can heal anyone and anything!" But, when pressed by the name of a person, or group of people, we struggle with, we might not be so confident or demonstrative in our agreement.
In Acts 9, we read the story of a man named Ananias. God uses Ananias to be the instrument of God's healing power in the life of someone he was afraid of and considered beyond God's reach.
"The Lord said, 'Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.'
'But Lord,' exclaimed Ananias, 'I've heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.'
But the Lord said, 'Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name's sake.'
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Instantly something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength."
We're a lot like Ananias. We put limits on God's healing - who God can heal and the extent to which that healing can transform them. Those limits include…
-What someone did in the past
-What someone did to us or said about us
-What other people have said about someone we don't know ourselves
-What happened in someone's worst moment(s)
-What someone else struggles with that we do not
One of the most popular verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:17. "Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" This well-known verse is often used around someone's baptism or when they share their testimony.
However, 2 Corinthians 5:16 is less known. "So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!"
Paul wrote these words to his friends in Corinth to remind them of the mistake he and many others made with Jesus. They missed who Jesus was because they saw Him through a purely human standpoint. Paul had since corrected his mistake and now he sought to evaluate people from Christ's point of view.
If God is the healer of all people, we ought to regard them from His point of view, too.
If this is a struggle for you, like it is for me, consider these four basic truths that I try to remind myself of when I'm struggling.
So, what if you saw everyone through the point-of-view of those four truths? How would that change your attitude, behavior, and comments towards them?
In @Passion's song, "What He's Done," they sing, "My sins are forgiven. My future is Heaven.
I praise God for what He's done." That's our story and it could be the story of every person on earth, including the person(s) you struggle to love or see through God's eyes.
Truly, God is the healer of all people. We've experienced Him healing us and He calls us to help other people find that same healing.
Scott Savage is a pastor and a writer with the coolest last name ever. He leads Cornerstone Church in Prescott, Arizona. Scott is married to Dani and they are the parents of three "little savages." He helps hurting people forgive others through his Free to Forgive course and you can read more of his writing at scottsavagelive.com.
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