This week's verse: Psalm 103: 11-13, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. (NIV)
I personally know someone who has come to Christ later in life. Don’t we all? Some are “born” into Christ because their family brings them up from birth. Some come to Christ as a child or teen and get baptized in their own time. But, there are still some that come to Christ late in their adult life after a lot of mistakes have been made. The Lord forgives all of these equally and remembers those mistakes no more. Yeah!!
As I was watching “Four Christmases” this year I heard a comment that put me in mind of this new Christian as he relates to his immediate family. The couple was going to meet each other’s parents for the first time and who they wanted to be was confronted by who they used to be in their families eyes. Their families still saw them the way they were in the past and went to great lengths to embarrass them in front of their mate. Unfortunately, this sometimes happens in the new Christian’s life much the same way. Any change is forgotten or ignored. The first time the new Christian is faced with ridicule of His new found love for Christ is possibly within his own family.
We must never forget that everyone has a story about his or her life. It’s a rough world out there and some have been affected by it more than others. That’s why salvation in the Lord IS so important – for those who NEED God’s love and compassion and forgiveness. The fact that they waited until they were 40, 50, 60, or even 70 to acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior is a matter between them and the Lord.
Our job as Christians is to be just as Colossians 3:12 states: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe you with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (NIV, emphasis mine). Patience is the key here. New Christians are watching us and they need to know that we don’t see their past anymore either.
Colossians 3:13-14 Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against someone forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV).
Lord, please help us to remember that everyone is forgiven who comes to you with a repentant heart. You love everyone equally, no matter where they have walked. You created each and every one of us and have a plan for each of us. Thank you for your unending love and unbelievable huge heart to forgive us all our debts – large and small. In Your Sons’ Name, Amen.
Are you a “new” Christian that has a hard past? Maybe you need to ask others for forgiveness from your past behaviors. Have you hurt others because of who you used to be? A small “forgive me” can go a long way.
Perhaps as a Christian you have had negative thoughts about a family member who has different beliefs than you and you have a hard time seeing them the way our Lord sees them. Take those thoughts captive with these memory verses:
Psalm 25:7, “Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord. (NLT)
Romans 12:10, “Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” (MSG)
Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (NIV)