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Love and Forgiveness

Every neighborhood has an observer.  This individual makes a hobby out of being in the know.  In the process of gathering information, gossip may distort fact from fiction.  Nonetheless, finding out what’s going on becomes an obsession.  For these personality types, digging up dirt on others produces an adrenaline rush.  Anyone who follows down this path begins to develop the mindset of a Pharisee.

Jesus, answering, said to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they had no means of repaying [the debts], he freely forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” – Luke 7:40-42

In the first century, Jesus was regularly invited to dine with religious leaders.  Instead of trying to impress other guests, Jesus used each meal as an opportunity to minister to others.  After an uninvited prostitute approached Jesus to anoint his body with an expensive jar of perfume, commentary, murmurs and preconceived judgments were made about Jesus.  Frustrated by the lack of maturity displayed by the adults in this house, Jesus shares a parable to expose the heart of this matter.

Simon answered, “The one, I take it, for whom he forgave more.” Jesus said to him, “You have decided correctly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house [but you failed to extend to Me the usual courtesies shown to a guest]; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair [demonstrating her love], Luke 7:43-44.

Jesus tells a story about two debtors who did not have the ability to pay back their amount owed.  After finishing, Jesus turns to Simon, a Pharisee, asking a couple of questions.  This conversation exposes the flaw of most Pharisees, concentrating on judging others rather than displaying love and forgiveness.  Jesus warns the guests about falling into this harmful mindset.  In the end, if you want to be forgiven, you must love much.  Forgiveness and love follow the sowing principle.  Those who love much are forgiven, but those who love little, forgive little.  May this parable speak to your heart, inspiring a desire to love and forgive like Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little,” Luke 7:47.


Take the High Road

Wes King crafted his song Sticks and Stones to unravel the childhood saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”  While the originator of this expression was likely attempting to encourage young people to develop “thick skin” toward words, King uses a biblical approach to form his lyrics.  Quoting James 3:1-12, this skilled writer exposes the dangers words can have on your soul.  The group Fan Mail take words one step further in their song Messed Up, claiming “we all get away with murder, the things that we say could kill!”

Whether you agree with these artists or not, words just don’t roll off people’s shoulders, dropping to the ground void of any damage, harm or pain.  In fact, like a feeding frenzy, words can cause an adrenaline rush in which you can get caught up in.  The urge to throw someone under the bus, gossip about someone you don’t like or trash someone with the rest of your friends is difficult to resist.  At a recent party, God convicted me of the very thing that I despise, taking the easy road with cheap and low blows by opening my mouth.

The term class is dying breed, a lost art in this age of Facebook, Twitter and instant messages.  Instead of following the Matthew 18:15-20 principle, most wimp out, hanging their dirty language out in the open for all to see.  Whether you like Andy Reid or not, former NFL head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons, he consistently protected his players during post-game press conferences even if some played like dogs.  Thus, its time for me and others in the body of Christ to grow up spiritually.  Join me in my quest during 2013 to take the high road, declining to focus on the negative by dwelling on wholesome words which are helpful in building up others, Ephesians 4:29-30.

by Jay Mankus

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