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23 Oct – A fresh start (pt 2)

No matter what we’ve done when we come to God and ask Him to lift off the weight and stain of our mistakes He gives us a fresh start; a clean slate, a blank page to begin again. (1 John 1:9) God loves us and wants us to live freely without the burden of the past. Part of living in that freedom is that He asks that we do for others what He has done for us. We are encouraged in fact to be “imitators of God”. To think like He thinks, talk like He talks, act like He acts, and to forgive as He forgives.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1-2) People may have wronged us, disappointed, abused, taken advantage, been rude and unkind to us, but God says to forgive them and to let any of our negative baggage go. Imagine if you wrote down all the wrong, messed up, negative, unkind things you have done and you gave that list to Jesus. He would then do one thing with that list – He would take it and tear it up and throw it away. If you come to Him He promises that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”. (Psalm 103:12). Yet how many lists do we hold of other people’s faults and wrongdoing towards us? Isn’t it time we extended the same grace and forgiveness we have been offered and choose to tear up those lists too? “Lists” where we have been disappointed, or feel like a failure. Where we’ve held anger, unforgiveness and bitterness in our heart. Lists of hurts and grievances? Lists on our husband or wife, partner, friends, family or workmates. The sad truth is that too many of us if we are not mindful to keep short accounts, to walk in forgiveness, and choose to live free from taking offense is that we can all have a great many lists. Some we have carried around for a very long time, continually telling ourselves that’s okay.

But it’s a massive weight when people know they’ve been less than theyshould have been and people are holding it against them. What a relief people feel when we extend to them a blank piece of paper, a clean slate; holding no record of wrongs against them. God knows our lists, and He says today to tear them up. In exchange He offers us a blank, brand new piece of paper, and He asks for us to offer other people that same gift. That doesn’t mean people won’t mess up, or that we won’t stumble ourselves. But God, if we let Him will teach and transform us to love and walk in forgiveness just as He does.

“And hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”. (Romans 5:5)

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:5-8)

Today take the time to examine your own heart. What “lists” do you have of your own failings, and what lists do you have of others shortcomings?

Give God your lists and allow Him to cleanse, restore and make you and your relationships healthy and whole. Choose to bless those around you by giving them a clean slate, as you tear up your “lists” today.

Prayer: Lord thank you that you offer me a blank page to write the next chapter of my story on. I give you all of my lists. Forgive me where I have taken offense and harbored unforgiveness in my own heart. Today I choose to let go of the lists I hold on others and myself and choose to love and forgive just as you forgave me. In Jesus Name Amen.

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