“The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” (1 John 4:21)
See the photo of nine ‘sisters’ who showed love to one another as we enjoyed a retreat together with Jesus. It is wonderful to be with people you love and are loved by. Differences, misunderstandings, even disputes arise but they are overcome in an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance of one another. A Christian community can be a little piece of heaven on earth. A little forgiveness goes a long way.
BUT, how very hard it is to love when Christian brothers and sisters treat you badly, when you are misunderstood, wrongly accused, or your best intentions are questioned. When told, without grace, that you have been in the wrong (and none of us can ever be completely right). When hopes and dreams are crushed underfoot…..
….the commandment still stands. Jesus was wrongly accused, misunderstood and his best intentions were most definitely questioned. Have you been condemned? He was condemned. Have you been hurt? He was tortured and killed.
He prayed, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’
I sometimes think they knew very well what they were doing – but not who they were persecuting. Perhaps it is the same for us. Those who treat us badly do not know what they are doing, because they do not know who we are: beloved children of God
Prayer of response:
- Thank you, Lord, that ‘the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.’ Let’s bring our mistakes and our pain to the cross. We receive peace and healing. (Pause)
- We ask you to forgive those who sin against us, help us to love them, not accepting their behaviour but seeking your wisdom and strength in how we respond to them.
- Lord, may we drink deep of your living water so that the same water flows out from us. Your Holy Spirit, your love, filling us to overflowing.
Questions to Ponder:
- Are there some small actions you might take to bless a beloved sister or brother?
- Have you brought your hurts to the cross and nailed them there (metaphorically)? Do you need to ask the counsel of someone who loves you?
- Can you ask God to forgive those who have hurt you?
—Submitted by Elaine Davis
Giving praise for a new season of life with 2 children and 5 granddaughters nearby (aged 1 to 12, 13 tomorrow!) Time to travel including visiting a son and his family in Mexico. Very blessed by the students and supporters of the UK satellite to Lifesprings Lyon. Excited to see the Holy Spirit at work in the satellite group and and re-infusing a local church with new life here in Leamington Spa.