By Rev Don Rivers
Last week through the development of technology this column was written campfire side! I was off with my wife on a little camping trip. It is so peaceful to sit by the campfire, listen to the sounds of nature and let the schedule fall to the wayside. Where do we find peace in the world of chaos? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Have you ever done something wrong? Seems like a simple question with a simple answer, but why is it we forget that when it comes time to forgive someone else from a mistake they made? Forgiveness is something we want to receive but many times are not as willing to give.
Let me set the record straight, we all make mistakes. We all make choices that seem right at the time but in retrospect they were not the correct ones. That being said, why have we become a society that has developed a less forgiving attitude?
As the race season unwinds we remember several occasions that mistakes on and off the track have been made. At the moment when they occurred it seemed the whole season hinged on them. After a little time passed their significance has waned and we have moved on. Those are the ones that are easy to deal with. Other mistakes take on a life of their own.
Forgive and forget; a familiar refrain, but one of the most difficult things for us to do. We want to get back at the person who wronged us. We have a need to get even. We have our rights and no one is going to take advantage of us. We say that we forgive but we will never forget. These are many of the comments you hear when you encourage others to forgive. We tend to be unforgiving people when it comes to others, but we want to be forgiven when it comes to us.
Let’s take a look at what God says about this issue. God’s rules never change and His standard is always the same. God does not accept our wrong decisions. God is right and just and when we chose to do things our way, with our self interest in mind; that is not something that God can accept. God says all selfish choices are the same; big or small doesn’t matter, they all fall into the category of sin, missing the mark. We all have made them and all will have consequences to deal with.
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 8:23
And the penalty is the same;
For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23a
But look at the rest of that verse and we start to see what God intends for us.
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23b
God said I will make a way for your sins to be forgiven; I will send My Son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for you.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18
We need to be at peace, peace with others and peace with God. Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker. He gave his life so that we could have peace with God. Jesus came, suffered, died and rose again so that the penalty for our sin would be paid in full. We can receive that payment by accepting it. It is a gift from God.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
God provided this opportunity for forgiveness and we can receive it by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we do we make peace with God, we restore our relationship with Him; our sins are forgiven and remembered no more.
We cannot experience the full blessing of God if we refuse to forgive others. Our unwillingness to forgive implies that our standard is greater than God’s. That is not correct; God’s standard is the only one that counts. If God is willing to forgive you there is no reason we could have for not forgiving others. Make that commitment this week. Commit that you will go to the people you have refused to forgive and forgive them. Don’t worry if they refuse to accept it, many have refused to accept the forgiveness that God offers. We are not called to make people accept our forgiveness, but to offer the gift. Offer that gift to someone today.
A SHOUT OUT TO STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY AND PAUL ARUTE- If you are looking for someone to thank for the three ovals in CT to be racing you can start with Paul Arute. He wouldn’t take no for an answer and persevered through the bureaucracy until he got a yes. Well maybe not a yes, but he didn’t get a no. As I spoke with him he explained he kept revising the plan until they stopped saying no. The final time he didn’t hear back so that is the plan they went with. Thank you for your perseverance! Stafford once again led the way in getting cars back on track and provided a framework for others to follow. Thank you!
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.