This morning around 4:00 a.m., I awoke to a quiet household and an internal conversation with God about something I read in my homework. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. It does not remove the consequences of actions.
Consequences are what make us think about our actions. Also, consequences from prior actions can determine the repeat of actions. Without negative consequences, we would repeat negative actions that could cause harm to ourselves or others.
After being told not to, a child runs out into a busy street. Most children do not realize the consequence of their actions or lack the experience to know the possible outcomes. Therefore, it becomes the parents’ responsibility to teach discipline, warn and punish their children for disobedience out of love and well-being. Painful consequences for negative and harmful actions will make a person stop, think, and associate the possibility of pain with a repeat of harmful actions.
The same principle applies to the moral compass of Christians.
Christians enter a covenant relationship with God with the agreement to allow God to be a guide for our moral compass with Jesus’ teachings. Just as responsible parents discipline their children, God will discipline His children/followers. It is not as a mean or controlling God but out of LOVE and well-being to reconcile the relationship with God and other people. Yes, most of the time, discipline from God hurts; however, that is the trust in the covenant we made as Christians. It is an understanding that God loves us enough to pull us back to fellowship with Him, sometimes at a high cost.
Jesus speaking, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire (Hell) and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
Some other things God pointed out to me to think about is what Christ’s love looks like. Also, the phrase “who believes in his name (Jesus)” (John 3:16). What does it mean to believe in Jesus’ name in order to have eternal life? Is it the belief in Jesus’ name with faith in what Jesus has done for us on the cross and following his teachings? Demons believe in Jesus as the Son of God and most likely saw him die on the cross. What makes believing in his name save us? Love for God, love for people, trying our best to obey, and learning about Him? I was prompt to think about these things as a new believer or non-believer might see them.
Then, I was to think about a Scripture about Forgiveness for the Offender.
2 Corinthians 2:5-11
Paul states, “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
Part of Christ’s love is forgiveness for us and others; however, it is not the only part of Christ’s love.
Finally, the question what should a covenant relationship with Jesus look like for Christians? New believers, mature believers? This is where God reminded me of my baptism and my willingness to give myself over to Jesus. I understood very little about God’s love at that time (I was not raised in a Church environment), but I knew I wanted Jesus in my life and still do. I must say, I smile every time I think of my sweet surrender on that day I became His. Praise be for His love for me.
What can I say? God had a lot to say to me this morning.
Love and peace, my friends.