Advent 2019 – A Journey Towards Forgiveness

Eternal One, public and open shame is our due, for we have sinned against You, all of us, our kings, princes, and ancestors. But You, O Lord our God, still show us compassion and forgiveness even though we have openly rebelled against You. Daniel 9:8-9 (The Voice)

Day 5 – Compassion and Forgiveness

As a young college student, one of my leadership course requirements was to undergo a “Friends and Family assessment.” In essence, the assignment had me interact with those closest to me to see what kind of leader and person I was. I gathered several responses, but only remember one from the assignment. My mom’s perspective was, “Justin, you’re really good at speaking truth to people….but really bad at speaking it in love.”

I love speaking the truth. I also love justice…except that what I’ve discovered is that I’m only a fan of those when they favor me. My sense of justice and fairness is decidedly skewed in my favor. Day 5: Compassion and Forgiveness

Daniel, the author of this passage, makes no such pretenses. There’s no defending or justifying the sins of God’s people here. The only right option is an open and public shame. Yet that’s not the way God operates. Instead, even though shame would be completely warranted, chooses mercy and forgiveness.

We like choosing justice when it favors us. We love fairness when we get the long end of the stick. My kids practice great fairness as long as they get twice as much as anyone else. God, thankfully, doesn’t operate like that. Another writer, recounting a similar story even said, “but you are not like us.”

He is decidedly different. He is gracious and abounding in forgiveness and compassion. Even though he has every right to act with vengeance and justice, he chooses neither.

Advent’s waiting is a chance for us to practice a similar examination. There are those that have wronged us and those that we have wronged. We have even wronged our sense of right. But as God draws closer, we realize that this is just yet another act of compassion and forgiveness. For us. To us. On behalf of us.

May our waiting produce a similar heart of compassion.

Advent Series Previous Posts

Introduction

Active Forgiveness

Ocean Depths

Emotional Baggage

Blog Post Cover Photo: Advent 2019 A Journey Towards Forgiveness

Advent 2019 – A Journey Towards Forgiveness

Day 1

And My people (who are known by My name) humbly pray, follow My commandments, and abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning, then I shall hear their prayers from My house in heaven, I shall forgive their sins, and I shall save their land from the disasters.2 Chronicles 7:14 (The Voice)

An Introduction

Here is my basic theory about trying to follow Christ, the whole goal, perhaps (over)simplified into one sentence: In any given situation, take whatever I want to do, and do the opposite.

Why?

Because I know myself. I’m greedy and selfish. I’ll cheat if I can get away with it. I’ll lie to make myself look good. I’m a big fan of grandeur and self-promotion. I’m totally in favor of doing whatever it takes to get ahead. Blog Post Cover Photo: Advent 2019 A Journey Towards Forgiveness (Day 1: Introduction)

Jesus ain’t like that.

He teaches me to practice humility. Love. Acceptance. Honesty. Integrity. Generosity. Compassion. Truthfulness. Selflessness. Forgiveness. Naturally, I’m not very good at any of those things, let alone all of them.

Like in this verse, the challenge is to abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning. Actions? Maybe. I’ve so far found it pretty easy to avoid killing someone. Thoughts? Not so much. I’ve gotten plenty angry at people (see Matthew 5:21-26 ).

And that’s the whole point. I can’t do this by myself. I’ll never accomplish this on my own. I need something better. SomeONE better. I need Jesus.

Join the Journey

As we journey towards the manger this Advent, we’re going to focus on forgiveness. (Don’t worry, we’re still going to haveour series on health every Monday). But I want to take time to understand the role that forgiveness plays in all of this.

Maybe we have trouble forgiving ourselves for the stuff we’ve done.

Maybe we can’t forgive others.

Maybe it’s justified.

Maybe it’s not.

Whatever it is, we need to talk about it.

Because it’s holding you back.

Weighing you down.

Keeping you from your goals.

Limiting your potential.

Stealing Your Joy.

So join me on this journey of Advent. A journey towards wholeness. Towards restoration. Towards hope. Towards forgiveness.

Towards Jesus.

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