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19/03/2022 03:00 - 20/03/2022 02:00

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” - Matthew 18: 21-22 (NIV).

One thing true of life is that human interactions are reeked with hurts. Because of our fallen nature, evil, intrigue, mischief, under handedness, duplicity, lies, false accusations, ungratefulness etc, are common experiences. Whether it is at church, in the family, the market place, community or accidental encounters on the road with strangers, you can feel safe and assured of once being wronged, if not quite often.

Being wronged is often most hurtful when the perpetrator is closest to you. For the roadside abuser you may toss back some casual offensive remark in kind and soon forget, after all you may never meet this tormentor again. However, when it is someone quite close, like a sibling, a long time sworn friend, a close work mate, who then betrays your confidence, that hurts to the bone. Everywhere you turn the arrow of betrayal strikes. All kinds of emotions can fill you – from anger to sadness.

Yet Jesus asks of us to be forgiving. Why, is because first of all we too have done wrong and have been forgiven. In spite of our sinful nature, “He took up our infirmities

and bore our diseases” (Mathew 8:17). In Matthew 6: 14-15, Jesus tells us,  "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Forgiving is liberating. There is such a thing as becoming a victim of the enemy. When someone you know wrongs you, as often happens, and that hurt makes you ever restless, longing for the day of getting even, then you are under the grip of the one who has offended you. However, if you let go, knowing God has said, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," (Romans 12:9), then the burden is no longer yours.

Many people have unsuspectingly become prisoners of their offenders. Only those who have learnt to forgive can tell of the freedom forgiveness brings, which every Christian ought to practice.

Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, because you have forgiven me, today I choose to be as forgiving, surrendering to you all my hurts to you, that you take over and I may enjoy the peace from you that surpasses understanding, this I pray in Jesus’s name.

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    “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful”( 2 Timothy 4:7).

    Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors  ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.

    Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).

    Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).

    Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!

    Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!

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