By Collin Zweigle
2017 is a new year. For many in America 2016 was a year filled with pain, frustration, and anger. In many ways our nation has been torn asunder through racial and political division. Healing is needed. Honesty is needed. Forgiveness and reconciliation are needed.
As followers of Christ we are called to emulate Jesus. I think of the woman caught in adultery, brought to Jesus and accused of breaking religious law and committing sin before God. I know you are familiar with the story, but the part that speaks to me the most is when Jesus addresses this woman directly. “Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:10-11, NIV) This is true forgiveness. If we want to see restoration in our nation we must be able to look into the eyes of those we feel have done wrongly, and say, “Neither do I condemn you.” Too often I hear believers in conversation or in Facebook posts speaking out in condemnation, making huge blanket statements about movements or organizations, condemning them because there have been a handful of people “associated” with these organizations who have misrepresented the things they actually stand for. I wonder then why we are so confused and frustrated when people want nothing to do with the church and with Jesus.
In Matthew chapter 7 Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (verses 1-5, NIV) Too often, we are the ones who throw the stones. Too often, we are the ones who condemn. Too often, we are the Pharisees bringing the woman caught in adultery to Jesus. Too often, we are the ones with a beam in our eye while we are fixated on the specks of others’ sins.
When I was growing up my mom would say, “His mercies are new every morning,” all the time. This was her way of reminding us that tomorrow was a new day and that God’s grace for that day couldn’t be cancelled out by our actions today. That phrase comes from a passage in Lamentations that says “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV) In 2017 may we have new mercies for those we feel have wronged us. May we put down our stones, and repent of our sins (the beams in our own eyes). Only when we do this can we play our part in the restoration the Lord wants to bring, His true “peace on earth.”
By Pastor Domenico Danesi
As 2017 begins we get back into the regular rhythms of life. The holidays are behind us and everyday life continues. With a new year is also a new vision. New vision for your family, job, ministry, etc. It’s a time to thank God for giving you another year of life and to direct your attention to what He is calling you to do.Read more ...