Forgiveness

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against any one, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you for your trespasses. But it you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you (Mark 11:25, 24).”’

When people abuse others, perhaps physically or mentally, they act without love. Their actions may bring about trauma and distress to the afflicted, and according to the severity of the abuse, those abused may be fearful of the perpetrator.

The sort of person who deliberately brings distress of this kind is not likely to want to be sorrowful for their conduct. For this to happen, there has to be a change of heart. If the heart is changed to the extent that the perpetrator understands that he has acted badly, without love for the other, he may seek forgiveness. He might humble himself and ask the one he hurt for their forgiveness. He might even seek to make redress by offering some form of compensation for the injury he caused (Luke 19:8). This is true repentance (2 Timothy 2:25, 26). His sincere repentance may be understood and appreciated by the injured person, who in turn, may forgive the offender and confirm his forgiveness by telling him.

On a human level, for both parties, it can be a hard act. Humbling and abasing oneself, while seeking forgiveness is foreign to the macho, selfish mindset of an abuser.  And for the abused, not holding a grudge against the perpetrator is difficult. For him to go a step further by forgiving the one who caused the pain is stretching the bounds of the natural man. However, if there is to be a loving, forgiving relationship, this stretching is required by both the abuser and the abused.

We humans in our natural, worldly condition (1 Corinthians 2:14), rebel against God (Daniel 9:9). We disrespect Him and reject His laws. We do not appreciate we are sinners (Romans 3:23) who are in a perilous, dreadful mess and destined for hell unless we repent. We are ongoing catastrophes, and there is nothing good in us (Romans 7:18). We are our own worst enemies. If we are given a choice, we invariably take the wrong one, because of our selfishness, greed and lust. 

We won’t admit it, but we are in league with the serpent who tempted Eve (Genesis 3:1-6). As blasphemers, we are unloving and unforgiving (2 Timothy 3:2-3). That is our nature, ‘children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).’

The Remedy

But God sent His Son Jesus (1 John 4:14) to remedy the situation by overcoming the power of satan within us. He throws out the ‘accuser’ (Revelation 12:10) and replaces him with His Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). We become new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our spirit is enlivened, and as regenerate creatures we desire and have the ability to make *choices that are pleasing to God. Our thinking and our will are in line with the doctrine of Christ (2 John 1:9).

Jesus, the Supreme Example of Forgiveness 

Jesus was often abused. Indeed, He came to the earth for that very purpose – even to be abused to the point of death on a cross, to bring forgiveness to men (Acts 5:31) – amazingly to His abusers (Luke 23:34).

Jesus became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13), and He laid down his life in exchange for ours (1 John 3:16). He paid the dept owed by us to God for our trespasses. We deserved death; instead, in His mercy, He gave us life – even eternal life (John 3:16). In Jesus we have everlasting forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7).

Dear reader, have you ever knelt before Jesus at the foot of the cross and told him you are sorry? Have you pleaded for His forgiveness? ‘For “whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13).’’

*Choices and Decisions before God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/15/choices-and-decisions-before-god/ 

Forgiveness Texts

Psalm 86:5 ‘For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon Your name.’

Psalm 99:8 ‘You answered them, O LORD our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgivess, though You took vengeance on their deeds.’

Psalm 103:3 ‘Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.’

Psalm 130:3, 4 ‘If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared..’

Daniel 9:9 ‘To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.’

Matthew 6:14,15 ‘“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”’

Matthew 9:6 ‘“But that you many know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”’

Matthew 18:21, 22 ‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often should my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

Matthew 18:35 ‘“So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”’

Matthew 26:27, 28 ‘“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”’

Mark 2:7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone.”’

Mark 3:28, 29 ‘“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”’

Luke 5:24 ‘“But that you might know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralysed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”’

Luke 6:37 ‘“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven..”’

Luke 11:4 ‘“And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”’

Luke 17:3, 4 ‘“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”’

Luke 23:34 ‘Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”’

John 20:23 ‘“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”’

Acts 2:38 ‘Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”’

Acts 5:31 ‘Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour; to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.’

Acts 13:37, 38 ‘“but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.”’ 

Ephesians 1:7 ‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.’

Ephesians 4:32 ‘And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving, one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.’

Colossians 1:13, 14 ‘He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.’

Colossians 3:13 ‘bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must do.’

Hebrews 9:22 ‘And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.’

1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, His faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’

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Freedom

‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1).’

‘…… if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).’

In the Western World we take freedom for granted. The two Great Wars were fought to maintain freedom, not only in the Europe, but also to champion it in the rest of the world. Freedom without harassment, freedom to live peaceably (Romans 12:18), freedom of speech, freedom to practice religions of choice, freedom to travel, freedom to trade – many such freedoms are cherished by those who are noble in mind (Acts 17:11) and in heart (Luke 8:15).

Freedom with Responsibility

No one is free to do whatever they please, especially if their actions adversely affect others. With freedom there comes responsibility, and that means having respect for others (1 Peter 2:17) who may not think as you do, or have the same moral and ethical values. With freedom there must be tolerance, but never when others try to take freedom away (2 Corinthians 11:20). Freedom is paramount.

No one is entirely free except God, the Creator of all things (John 1:3). He can do just as He pleases (Romans 9:15). Nothing can stop Him. He is *all-powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent, but at the same time He is holy, righteous, merciful and loving, and His desire is for His chosen ones to enter into His freedom – to know and experience His love.

While His creatures are alive on this temporary globe He gives to all ‘limited’ freedom. Unlike Him they can’t be in all places at the same time; they don’t know all things, and they are but grasshoppers (Isaiah 40:22) by comparison, with no strength whatsoever.

However, they can move and operate within their environments, i.e., they are free, but only within the constraints of their physicality, spatial containment, and within time. Take, for example, a prisoner who is incarcerated in a cell. For as long as he is there he can only move within its confines. His freedom of movement is severely restricted. He is free to think, for as long as he is conscious, and if his brain is functioning sufficiently well for him to do so. His captors may try to brainwash him, as is the case with **Muslims in China who are locked-up in so-called schools of re-education. Their mind-benders may well succeed in reshaping their thoughts through their repressive draconian regime.

Accountability 

Had God not given men freedom to make choices (Deuteronomy 30:19) that are, or are not, acceptable to Him (Psalm 19:14) He could not hold them accountable on the day of judgment (1 John 4:17). Although all things are ***predestined, people are free to make decisions and to take actions. God places no restraint on them in this respect. Therefore they are accountable for all that they do and say (Matthew 12:36, 37).

Paul, the Apostle, said all things are possible, but not all things are profitable, or right to do (1 Corinthians 10:23).

As a Christian, I am free to sin, but it is not my desire to sin. I have, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the ability not to sin. If I am enslaved to the flesh (Romans 7:25) I am not of the Spirit and I am not free not to sin, but if I am born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) my freedom is in Christ; for He has made me free, and I am free indeed (John 8:36)! I am free not to sin, and I am free from the power of sin (Romans 3:9) and the penalty of sin (Romans 6:5-7).

You might present the argument that God is unjust, because He finds those who have not been ‘born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5)’ guilty; for only those who have been born of the Spirit can make decisions that please Him (Hebrews 11:6). They are ‘saved through faith,’ and that is ‘the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).’

Paul makes the case that God is righteous (Romans 9:14) and He can rightly and justly do as He pleases. All deserve hell for their rebellion against Him (Romans 1:18-32;  3:23), but in His mercy He chooses some for salvation (9:14-24).

True Freedom

True freedom is found in love (Galatians 5:13, 14). God is love (1 John 4:8) and those in Him are free. If they are in Christ, they are in the Father (John 14:10). If the Spirit dwells in them (1 Corinthians 3:16), they are in the Son and the Father.

Have you ever wondered about freedom in the ‘new earth’ (Revelation 21:1)? A foretaste of that can be seen in the resurrected Christ. His spiritual body was not restricted to physical space; it was not restricted by time, although He manifested Himself in time (Acts 1:3). His body could pass through solid structures (John 20:19) and it could ascend into the ice-cold sky (Acts 1:9, 10), an environment where blood-warm humans soon perish. His resurrected nature was different to our mortal nature. He was Spirit, and indeed He is Spirit (John 4:24). As such He is totally free.

When it comes to our ****resurrection we shall be like Him (Romans 6:5; 1 John 3:2) who is totally free.

“Hallelujah! Give Him the praise”.

*The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/

**Xinjiang Re-education Camps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang_re-education_camps 

***Predestination

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/07/17/predestination/ 

****The Resurrection

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/06/06/the-resurrection/ 

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Predestination

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:3-5).’

“And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:25-28).”’

King Belshazzar had been having a great feast (v. 1). He, his lords, his wives and his concubines were drinking wine from the gold and silver vessels that his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, when suddenly ‘the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote (v. 5)those cryptic words on the wall. The king having seen the ‘part of the hand that wrote (v. 5)’ was so terrified that his ‘knees knocked against each other (v. 6).’

None of his wise men: the astrologers, the Chaldeans or the soothsayers could interpret the meaning of the words; so the Queen suggested to the king that he should ask Daniel, who had ‘the Spirit of the Holy God (v. 11),  to explain their meaning.

Daniel had interpreted dreams for the king’s father (2:14-45; 4:1-27); so Belshazzar summoned Daniel to come before him. Daniel candidly pointed out that God had humbled the king’s father’s heart by temporarily removing him from his throne until he he came to acknowledge that ‘God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses (5: 21).’

Despite knowing what had happened to his father, Belshazzar had not humbled himself (v. 22). Instead he had lifted himself ‘up against the Lord of the heaven (v. 23).’ He did not glorify God who gave him his every breath and who owned all his ways (v. 23). Consequently, that very night, Belshazzar ‘was slain (v. 30).’

Not only is the above an illustration of God’s predestination, it is also a demonstration of His *omnipotence and His kingship over the affairs of men; for He appoints ‘whomever He chooses (5: 21).’

Here’s Another Illustration of Predestination

‘Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”  Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive (Genesis 50:18-20).”’

Most Christians know the account of how Joseph was sold by his brothers and came to be a slave in the household of Pharaoh in Egypt (Genesis 39:1). God prospered him there, and Pharaoh made him ‘overseer of his house and all that he had (v.5).’

To cut a long story short, Joseph had a dream that he and his brothers were binding sheaves, and his ‘sheaf arose and also stood upright,’ but their sheaves ‘stood all around and bowed down to’ his sheaf (37:7). He told the dream to his brothers and they resented it, saying, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words (v. 8).’

Not only did Joseph have dreams, but with the help of God he interpreted them and the dreams of others.

It so happened that after unjustly being imprisoned by Pharaoh, Joseph was brought before Pharaoh’s successor to interpret two of his dreams.

The first portrayed ‘seven cows, fine looking and fat’ (Genesis 41:2)’ that came out of a river. After them there also came seven ‘ugly and gaunt cows (v. 4 )’ that ate up the ‘fine looking and fat’ ones. In Pharaoh’s second dream there were ‘seven heads of grain’ on one stalk that were ‘plump and good (v. 5),and after them came ‘seven thin heads’ of grain that were ‘blighted by the east wind (v. 6).’ They ‘devoured the seven plump and full heads.’

Joseph explained that the dreams were one and the same. They depicted seven years of plenty, when harvests would be bountiful; afterwards there would be seven years of widespread famine. These things were immutably ‘established by God (v. 32).’ In other words, God predestined what would occur.

Pharaoh recognised that Joseph was a man ‘in whom’ was ‘the Spirit of God (v. 38),  and knowing that God prospered him, he ‘set’ him ‘over all the land of Egypt (v. 41).’ 

Joseph immediately went to work and organised the collection and storage of grain during the good years, for it to be available for purchase during the years of famine. The famine not only affected Egypt, but the land of Canaan where Joseph’s brothers lived along with his father Jacob. The upshot was that eventually they were all forced to travel to Egypt where they met Joseph who provided them with all they needed to survive. Thereby the dream that God had given him (Genesis 37:7, 8) was fulfilled.

Indeed, that was an essential piece of the puzzle in the history of redemption through God’s Son Jesus Christ who came from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 6:14).

The children of Israel (Exodus 1:1-7) settled in Egypt, and there they multiplied (v. 12), but a ‘new king (v. 8) was fearful they would turn against the Egyptians; so he placed taskmasters over them and afflicted them by making them slaves (vv. 11-14). In due time God redeemed them from slavery to the promised land (Exodus 3:17). After forty years in the desert under the leadership of Moses and Joshua they entered Canaan and conquered the inhabitants (Joshua 24:17, 18).

Every single footstep (Deuteronomy 8:4), every action, and every event was predestined; just as our lives are predestined today (Romans 8:28).

 “Praise be to God for His love and mercy. Amen.”

 

*The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/ 

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Trust and Belief

‘Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).’ ‘Trust in the LORD will all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).’

In the concluding summary of my article about *Faith published on Christmas Day 2017, I said, “Faith is ‘trust and belief’ in the outcome.”

So, what is Trust?

Famously, when Tony Blair was campaigning for a Labour electoral victory in 1997 his mantra was, “Trust me.” His party got in, and he continued with his mantra. He was the Prime Minister and prime mover for the UK’s entry into the war with Iraq in 2003, and as we know, this led to great loss of life on both sides of the conflict. He continued to use his **mantra, “Trust me.” Even today that country is far from stable, and lives are being lost through terrorist bombings.

Many trusted and believed Blair; they placed their faith in him. Years later they may have concluded their faith was misplaced. Paul warns us ‘that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5).’

When we trust people we rely on them to accomplish what they say they will do. We place our faith in them to do it and we also believe they will do it. However, Psalm 146:3, 4 warns us that man cannot be trusted. These two verses instruct us, ‘Do not put trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, and he returns to earth; in that very day his plans perish.’

On the other hand we can put our trust in God; for He is totally trustworthy (Hebrews 10:23).

Faith and trust are synonymous; they are virtually the same thing. 

So, what is Belief?

Belief is a crucial mental state; a conscious assurance that drives our faith and helps us to persevere (James 1:4). Without belief there can be no salvation in Jesus. We first have to believe before we can practice our faith.

The writer of Hebrews states, ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (11:6).’

Probably the most famous text in the whole Bible is, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” Verse 18 goes on to say, “He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Therefore belief (2 Thessalonians 2:13) is essential for gaining ‘everlasting life.’ Belief in the Son of God assures us of our salvation from hell and from the power of sin. Like faith, it is God-given (Ephesians 2:8).

‘But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14).’

Conclusion

“Faith is ‘trust and belief’ in the outcome.”

*Faith

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/12/25/faith/ 

**Time Magazine – Tony Blair – “Trust me.”

http://content.time.com/time/covers/europe/0,16641,20030908,00.html 

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An Invitation to the Wedding Feast

‘Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9a)!’”

Invitations require a response. Sometimes at the bottom of an invitation card you’ll find the letters RSVP, which stand for répondez s’il vous plaît. This is French for “Please Reply.” If the sender doesn’t receive a reply he will be disappointed.

He may persist and send further invitations; but if they too are ignored (Matthew 22: 5) he may well invite others (v. 9).

Jesus’ Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) presents such a scenario. In the story some of the recipients responded ‘spitefully’  and they killed the king’s servants (v. 6) who had brought the invitations to them. The king wasn’t just disappointed – he was furious (v. 7)! He sent his armies to destroy them and to burn their city. Afterwards he invited complete strangers (vv. 7-10), who, unlike those originally chosen, accepted his invitation.

On the day of the wedding feast someone was found there who had not been invited, and on being asked by the king how he got there, he was ‘speechless’ (v. 12). He had no proof he was a bona fide guest, as he was not wearing ‘a wedding garment (v. 11).’  So the king had him cast ‘into outer darkness (v. 13).

The Meaning of the Parable

This parable speaks of Israel’s rejection of God. They had been chosen by Him, and they were His special people (Deuteronomy 7:6). They had the privileges, the blessings and the law (Romans 3:2), but they were a disobedient people (Romans 10:21) who lacked faith (Hebrews 3:19). They had been invited to the feast, but they rejected the King’s invitation.

God would replace them with His new Israel – those chosen in His Son (Romans 16:13), the risen Jesus, who would make the the old covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13) and establish a ‘new covenant’ (Jeremiah 31:31). Those chosen ‘strangers’ (Matthew 22:7-10) would accept His invitation to the wedding feast, and they would worship Him ‘in Spirit and truth (John 4:23). God would give them hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), and they would ‘know’ Him (Jeremiah 31:34). He would write His law ‘in their minds’ and on ‘their hearts (v. 33).’ 

This new Israel is the Spirit-filled and Spirit-powered (1 Corinthians 2:4; Galatians 5:25; Romans 15:19)  church of Jesus Christ, i.e., God’s special people (1 Peter 2:9, 10). Paul describes them as ‘all Israel’, and those who ‘will be saved (Romans 11:23-26).’

Jesus says “Come!”

Jesus proclaims His invitation to all. Those who accept and come to Him in faith (Ephesians 2:8) will be saved (Romans 10:13).

Matthew 11:28, 29

28 Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 19:14

14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 9:23

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 5:24

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 6:37

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

John 6:45

45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

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Equality

For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.  For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance may also supply your lack – that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack ( 2 Corinthians 8:12-15) ”’

The Declaration of Independence

Two hundred and forty three years ago on 4th July the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence with the purpose of breaking away from the colonial rule of Great Britain. The document contained the following words:

‘All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

It’s interesting that it states ‘men’ are ‘created’ equal by their Creator, i.e., God. Equally interesting, they have ‘rights’ given to them by God: specifically the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to the Declaration, all men should be ‘treated’ equally with regard to the preservation of their life, their liberty and their freedom to pursue happiness.

Equality and Equal Treatment

‘Treating’ people equally is quite different to people ‘being’ equal.

We know for a fact that no one is equal with another. Right from the start, even within the womb (Job 31:15; Psalm 22:9, 10), some have better prospects. Their potential for achievement is different, and their physical and mental characteristics are different. Furthermore, babies are born into different environments – even in lands with different cultures.

Therefore to say that men and women are created equal is a misnomer.

God gives each person a soul, and in that respect God treats them equally, but the nature of their *souls differ.

Physically and psychologically men and women are different. God in His wisdom created them (Genesis 5:2) to complement one another and to become one flesh (Mark 10:8) for their propagation. Equality is found in their coming together as one.

Equality and Diversity

Now in this age of diversity a great struggle is being played out. The action centres on how people treat one another. Ethnicity, religion, human rights, social mobility, politics, trade wars, global warming, armed conflicts, poverty and immigration are just some of the topical subjects about which people have different views. They posit issues highlighting inequality; for example, those who identify themselves with the **LGBTQ+ community hold fast to their rights to ‘equal’ treatment with the majority who are heterosexual.

This gets to the heart of the matter of equality – how do communities and individuals treat others?

If we are Christians we respect all people and we endeavour to love them as Jesus has commanded us (Matthew 22:39). We attempt to do these things without partiality. You might say it is our desire to treat people equally with love, respect (1 Peter 2:17) and with kindness. Jesus is our example. He didn’t discriminate (Romans 10:13).  He treated all people alike, i.e., in truth and with love. He spoke plainly to those who transgressed His laws (Matthew 23:13) and He warned them of the consequences of disobedience (v. 33). He applied the same compassion (Mark 6:34) and loving kindness to all (John 3:16). On the day of judgment (Genesis 18:25) He will treat all fairly according to their faith (Romans 3:26), love and obedience .  

*Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/ 

**The Christian and Gender Orientation

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/01/06/the-christian-and-gender-orientation/ 

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Emotions

I was contemplating the subject of ‘emotions’ when I came across a Twitter tweet by Adrian Reynolds. He wrote, “As lyric love poetry, the Song of Songs does not primarily impart information, but evokes an emotional response.”

My New King James Version has the title, ‘The Song of Solomon.’ Right from the start, the reader’s emotions are kindled by the interplay of words between the Shulamite and her Beloved. She opens the love song by declaring to the daughters of Jerusalem, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you. Lead me away (1:2-4)!’’ 

She expresses her desire for the reciprocation of his love.

In verse 15 he responds by saying: “Behold, you are fair my love! Behold you are fair! You have dove’s eyes.” 

He is fascinated and charmed by her beauty, and almost every time he speaks to her, he uses the emotional language of love. Later when they are married or engaged he coos to her, “Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue; and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon (4:11).”

 If this doesn’t stir your emotions your heart is dead!

You’ve probably read the whole book, and if you are like me it would have evoked more than one emotional response. My point is not to analyse the poem with regard to its purpose and meaning, but simply to use it as an example of how words can affect the emotions.

The Power of Words

Because words are powerful, we as Christians have to guard our lips, pause and think before speaking. We should choose our words carefully. I say this, because not long ago someone said a few words to me that caused me to respond in a way I shouldn’t have.

My verbal response was not unkind, but the pointing of my finger was indicative of my emotional response, and it was shameful. I had been hurt by just three or four words. My heartbeat immediately increased, and my response was unloving. Moments later I was ashamed and sorrowful because I had acted as I did. I was angry at the same time.

I became acutely aware of the words of Jesus, ‘“Love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34).”’  I had failed Him. My actions and attitude fell far short of His love. My emotions had gotten the better of me.

Later that day, and back at home, Satan had a good go at me. He told me I was a good-for-nothing. He capitalised on my failure, but I took refuge in Jesus.

1 John 1:9 flashed through my mind: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’  The words of James also came to mind: ‘Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed (James 5:16).’

I had sinned and I needed healing; I was wounded and hurt, but worst of all, I had not acted in the Spirit.

Forgiveness

Even the next morning I was struggling with forgiveness. It should have been second nature. The command of Paul had to be obeyed. He wrote: ‘bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must do  (Colossians 3:13).’

I had to obey the command of Christ: ‘“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14, 15).”’

Conclusion

Emotions can get the better of us, and unless they are reined in and are controlled by our reasoning, we shall find ourselves and others suffering as a result.

My wife used to have a shapely cup with the words on it, “Keep calm, eat cup cakes” – that’s until she broke the handle off it.

I gave her full marks, because she kept her cool, and she was pleased when I glued the handle back on again. I wasn’t so pleased days later when I made her a cup of tea, because while doing so the handle fell off! At the same time tea spilled over the workbench and onto the floor.

Somehow I kept my emotions under control, and I resigned the matter to the Lord. Cleaning the mess became a joy, because it was all a matter of love – the Lord’s love for me and my wife, and our love for Him.

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