Proverbs 20:21-30 – Revenge is Not the Answer

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Have you ever been wronged by someone? I think all of us have at some point in life. It never feels good to be hurt by a friend or even a stranger. What happens next will define us. Do we rush to get even? Or, do we only dream of sweet revenge? How do you react when you are the target of slander and lies?

For me, I always want to set the record straight. I’m so afraid of what people think of me. Yet Solomon’s wise counsel is this, “Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.” Are you kidding me? How can I do that? We might think we look weak if we don’t fight back. But on the contrary, we are much stronger when we are able to bite our tongue and just take the lashing, trust that God has our backs.

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Proverbs 17:1-15 – Forgiveness

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Isn’t reading all of this wisdom good for the soul? Be sure to take time to really wrestle with each proverb. There are only a handful to reflect on each day. Again, I am torn for which one to focus on today. As a grandma, I do agree that grandchildren are our crowning glory. All the trials and tribulations that go with parenting seem to be rewarded when the grandchildren come along. And, the one that spoke of acquitting the guilty also spoke to the paralegal in me who prepared a number of cases for trial.

Verse 9 is the one I chose for today, and it says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Forgiveness is a powerful act. It releases us from bondage. Many times, we hold on to something that has happened to us, and it can make us bitter. We let it play over and over in our heads. Meanwhile, the other(s) involved are totally unaffected and may not even remember the event in the first place. Holding on to hurts is hurting us more than the person who hurts us, don’t you agree?

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1 John 2:1-6 – Do You Know God?

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I’m so glad John wrote this to us so that we won’t sin! Unfortunately, I don’t think his words can keep us from sinning, it’s not that easy. But his words can make us aware of our sin and what we can do about it. So on the off chance you happen to sin (and you will), we can all be sure that Jesus is ready to save us.

Jesus is portrayed here as our advocate, pleading our case for us. With my legal background, of course, I picture a lawyer in court before the Judge. I have worked on many a case representing the “bad guy” who was still allowed counsel before the judge. What would the sentence be? A good lawyer would make sure the sentence was fair or non-existent in the right circumstances. Jesus pleads not-guilty for us because he, himself is the sacrifice for all sins.

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1 John 1:8-10 – We Are Sinners

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This text is familiar to me. I grew up Lutheran. These words were used in our weekly confession/forgiveness portion of the worship service. I took some time today to really let those words sink in. We are sinners. Period. There can be no debate.

What we do tend to do is look around and compare. We think our sins aren’t as bad as that person’s, right? I know I’m not the only one who has done this. But truth be told, a sin is a sin. To God, any sin separates us from him. Every sin, big or small, needs the same antidote, God’s forgiveness. Why do we try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re not sinners? Maybe it’s because we have done something a certain way our whole life but didn’t realize it was a sin. Perhaps we are just in denial saying something like, “well, at least I didn’t kill someone.” We try our best to be “good” people, doesn’t that count?

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Matthew 18:21-35 – Unlimited Forgiveness

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I love it when Jesus uses parables to convey his intention or direction for our lives. This one is really something. After talking about how to handle it when someone sins against us in our last text , Peter rightfully asks the question, “How many times should we forgive?”

What was Jesus response? 70×7. 490 times! I’m not sure who would even keep track. That was just a crazy amount to show us we need to forgive. Period. We shouldn’t try to quantify it or keep score. Then Jesus told the story.

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