The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recap of Day 3 of Lenten Mission 24 Feb 2010

Topic: "Forgiveness"

Following last nights discussion on repentance and conversion, Tom gets right into the Topic that probably most people have difficulty with in their daily lives; "FORGIVENESS".

The Word of God has a transforming effect on anyone who wants to hear. "If today you hear my voice harden not your heart".

With that said we sometimes seem to be missing it! "It" being the reason or "the unknown" why crisis upon crisis continue to be happening to some of us over and over again. We need to focus more on Forgiveness. LET IT GO!

We get upset and offended by so many things. Some of the greatest offences takes place at home; between husbands and wives, children against parents or brothers against brothers and sisters.

As explained so clearly in Matthew 6:14-15

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
Do you want to sever ties with the Lord. Of course not, therefore we a called to forgive others as Christ forgives us. Do you realize that you ask the Lord for his forgiveness when you recite the Lord's prayer and in return you declare that you will also forgive others of their wrong doings to you?

An excellent story from Scripture, told by Tom is taken from Genesis 45:14-15. Here we are told about a father with 12 sons; the youngest being Joseph. Joseph was favored by his father. His brothers despised him greatly. Fast forward; Joseph brothers sells him to Egyptians rather than killing him, even though that was their first thought. Eventually Joseph becomes the governor of Egypt, second to Pharaoh. The brothers would have to come to Egypt to buy food as there was a famine across the nation. After going back and forth with the brothers, Joseph reveals his identity to the brothers and forgives them.

Here is a man who was greatly offended by his brothers, he forgave them and even gave them plenty. The blessings flowed like a river.

Continuing to Matthew 18:15-22, here we see Jesus teaching his disciples about binding and loosing. Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother and Jesus replies "not seven times but seventy-seven times".

Followers of Jesus is never to stop seizing to forgive. It should be a way of life, an engraved attitude. We should be a forgiving, forgiving, forgiving and forgiving people. Never stop forgiving or you shall not be forgiven says Jesus. Are you a follower of Jesus?

Jesus explains to his disciples in Matthew 18:23-35 that "the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants".

Here we see a debtor being brought before the king to settle monies owed to him. Not being able to pay the money, the king order him and his family to be sold in order to pay back the debt. The servant beg for more time in order to have the debt paid off in full. The king was moved with compassion and forgave the debt and released the servant. The servant left and ran into a fellow servant who had owed him money. When his fellow servant begged for more time, the servant refused and put his fellow servant in prison. Now other servants saw what he had done and were deeply disturbed. They reported it to their master who reminded him how he had forgiven him his debt therefore he should have at least done the same to his fellow servant who's debt was even lesser. The master handed him over to the torturers until he had paid off the entire debt.

Since the debt is so great as to be unpayable, the punishment will be endless. Had the servant had pardoned his fellow servant of the small debt he owed to him, he would have been spared endless punishment. Are you holding onto a small debt that someone owes you or a wrong that someone may have committed you. Is it worth loosing your freedom, eternal life to the devil?

Jesus further reminds us in verse 35 that God will also do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.

"Unforgiveness is toxic and corrupt. Forgiveness is healing". These words should be engrained in our memories to remind us of the need for forgiveness of others and self.

Tom tells us of a true story of a guy (who we'll call John), who was dragged behind his wife to a mission in the New Jersey area to hear a Lay Catholic Evangelist speak on "Forgiveness". John really did not want to go but went anyways. When it was over John and his wife left, but John was just happy to be done and driving back home; 35 miles away. The next day he got up to get ready for work, John grumbled again as usual about his job and his boss. He hated his job and despised his boss. His boss gave him a really hard time with insults and talking down to him. While driving to work John had this thought pop up into his head about his boss. Would you believe he was actually listening to Tom Edwards presentation that he thought that maybe he should just forgive his boss in his heart. He prayed on his way to work, but it was not a shinning prayer, it was something like "O.K I forgive him" and that was it. He got to work (by the way today is Friday the mission was on Thursday and no work on Saturday and Sunday) and received more insults from his boss. John could not wait for the day to end because he would not have to deal with his boss and his job until Monday again. When Monday came he went to work and low and behold his boss had resigned and left. John could not believe it that he knew it had to do with him "loosing" his boss to Christ.

Let God handle your problems for you.

True stories are great as they are relatable to your very own life. Another true story by Tom takes place in Pinedale Wyoming.

During another forgiveness mission, Tom see's a guest crying (we'll call her Debbie) but did not approach her to find out what was the matter. Debbie had left and wrote Tom a letter to thank him for opening her eyes as she was holding a grudge in her heart towards a bully from Kindergarden. He always picked on her and she never let it go. Debbie told Tom that right away she wrote the guy a letter and explained to him how he hurt her and that she had forgiven him. The next day after she had mailed the letter while pulling into work and getting out of her car, the same guy walks up to her car and says to her that he was sorry for the way that he treated her when they were growing up. Can you just imagine how Debbie felt at that moment. Here is the guy who treated her so poorly standing in front of her as a totally changed person. But wait a minute, here's the thing, Debbie had just dropped off the letter in the post yesterday. The guy never got the letter until the week after they met in the parking lot at her job. Now was God working this all out. It is all about "loosing" it to Christ.

Get that burden off you chest and shoulders and watch good things begin to happen in your life. The truth will set you free. AMEN.

Looking at another great story in the bible about forgiveness we refer to Acts 7:51, 54-60

Here we see Stephen letting the people have it. The people became infuriated and rushed upon him and threw him out of the city while at the same time stoned him. When he fell he prayed for his spirit to be received but he also ask the Lord that he not hold this sin against the people. While this was taking place Saul stood there watching.

Here we see again how by loosing in your heart the forgiveness of others, even those who offend, hurt or degrade you how the Lord uses this for the good of all. Saul's conversion should be testimony that anything is possible with Christ. Stephen loosed Saul under God through forgiveness and that is how God poured his Holy Spirit upon him.

EPH 4:26-27 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. ( To Spouses, do not go to sleep unless you settle your differences with one another and you have both forgiven each other). Can you guarantee that you will arise in the morning. Don't take that chance.

EPH 4:31-32 All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. (And) be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Jesus forgives unconditionally and so should we)


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