Does God’s Grace Extend to Colin Kaepernick?

grace

Disclaimer:  My thoughts on this post all came from a sermon I heard this past Sunday.  Guess that this post might be considered plagiarism.  Since the minister that spoke is my daughter, hopefully she will forgive me for stealing her thoughts.

She spoke of our need for God’s grace not just at the moment we realize we need a savior but each day as we rely on God’s grace – it is an ongoing way of life.  Knowing we have received grace, we need to pass that grace on to others in our life.

The meaning of grace could call for a deep and long theological dissertation – but I’m not qualified for that.  For my post, I’m just using a simple definition – again not my own but one I have heard hundreds of time when someone tries to define what we mean by grace.

G — God’s

R – riches

A – at

C – Christ’s

E – expense

Some definitions:

God’s favor toward the unworthy

God’s benevolence on the undeserving

Grace is what God is all about.  Because of His grace, we are forgiven – not based on anything we have done, but simply on His love and mercy.  And, because we have received grace, we are to pass that same grace – that same love and mercy – to others.

But here is where I find a big problem among my Christian friends today.  We are living in a very divided country right now.

  • Left vs right
  • liberal vs conservative
  • Democrat vs Republican
  • pro-choice vs pro-life
  • against a wall vs for a wall
  • restriction on gun rights vs gun rights advocates

And the list could go on and on.

As Christians we have every right to speak out on our own opinions, to speak out for truth and against things that are totally outside God’s Word.

BUT….while we can and should speak out for the truth, we need to remember that those we disagree with, those who we strongly feel are wrong, are people who God loves, people that God died for.  People that need to know God’s love and mercy in their own lives.

Remember the verse we all learned early in life:

For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten son….

That means God loves:

knee

  • all the NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem, including Colin Kaepernick
  • all the crazy Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi
  • all the pro-choice activists, including Cecile Richards

Do we speak out against their beliefs, their actions?  Certainly we have that right and maybe in some cases even that responsibility.

But when we speak out against them personally, call them names, say we don’t care about them, I think we have crossed the line as Christians.  No longer seeing them as people who need to know God’s love, but as “enemies.”  We dehumanize them.  We refuse to extend love and mercy.

Jesus told us:

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

So, I ask my Christian friends:

When was the last time you prayed for those who you disagree with?

When was the last time you bent your knee and prayed for your enemies?

We hear a lot of calls to pray for President Trump – and we should.  But where are the calls to play for those we disagree with?  Don’t they need God too?

Just as we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, someone you know may not deserve yours. It doesn’t matter: We are still commanded to forgive them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really? Forgive Again?

Anyone who has gone to Sunday School or attended any Bible studies has probably heard how Jesus said we are to forgive someone seventy times seven.

Of course, we know that He did not mean we keep a notebook handy and add up each time we forgive someone until we have forgiven them 490 times.

Okay, that was the 491st time you did that – no more forgiveness.

forgive

 

Clearly He was expressing how we are to have a heart of mercy and forgiveness to others.  He went on to say that He forgave us to the degree we forgive others.

For many of us forgiveness is a tough one to do.  I have found it fairly easy to forgive when someone acknowledges they hurt me and asks for forgiveness.  But when they do not acknowledge they were wrong and I still need to forgive them – that has been hard at times.  However, not forgiving harms me more than the one I do not forgive.

forgive 2

Several years ago I came face-to-face with the reality of how much I needed forgiveness myself – and therefore should forgive others.

A few years after my first husband died, I remarried a wonderful man and inherited a teenage son.  Raising two girls, I did not have a clue how to deal with a son – especially a teenage son.  Today I am thankful to say this young man and I could not be closer.  But those first few years had some rough moments.

He was a good young man, but suddenly having me telling him what to do did not always sit well with him.

Some days I became frustrated with him.  It was not that he was doing terrible things.  It was just things like forgetting to take out the trash or heading out with his friends without helping with the household chores he had been assigned.  When I confronted him he would always say he was sorry.

So — one day I told him:

I have had it with you.  You keep saying you are sorry – but then you do it again.   I’m tired of forgiving you again and again.

After stomping off to my bedroom to cool off, I suddenly felt a reprimand from the Holy Spirit:

So, how many times have I forgiven you for the same thing?  Next time you pray, should I say that I have had it with you?

Ouch!!!!  That hit very close to home.

Needless to say I went back to this young man and told him I forgave him and we would try again.

(I do want to make this disclaimer.  Being physically or mentally abused by someone does not mean we allow that abuse to continue.  While we need to forgive the abuser, there is no way we should ever continue to submit to abuse.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Dad!

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Growing up, what was your experience with prayer?

This was a question asked at a recent Bible study I attended.  Sitting at a table with eight other women, we went around our table, each woman sharing how prayer did or did not play a role in her family as a child.

As I shared my story of the very important part prayer played, I realized how blessed I was.  Prayer was a very significant part of my home life.  We prayed before each meal.  Those prayers were not memorized or short “Thank you for our food” kind of prayers.  Each family member took their turn in praying for a meal and the prayers were spontaneous – from the heart prayers.  At bedtime we all gathered in our living room, knelt down by the couch or a chair and our Dad would lead us in a prayer.  Any time I was not feeling well or had a problem at school, Dad’s solution was prayer.  We did go to see a doctor when sick, but prayer always came first.

One memorized prayer

Being the youngest in the family, my first prayer at mealtime was a memorized prayer.

God is good, God is great!

And we thank Him for our food!  Amen

At mealtime I would pray my simple prayer first, then another member of my family would say an “adult” prayer.  Shortly after I turned five, my Dad decided I no longer needed to pray that childish prayer, but could just take my turn with the rest of the family praying at mealtime.  However, he did not explain that to me.  We sat down to eat and Dad called on my oldest sister to say the prayer.  She prayed and everyone began eating.  After a few minutes Mom noticed I was not eating and wanted to know what was wrong.  “I didn’t get to pray” was my response.  How could I eat my meal without thanking God for it?  After Dad explained that I did not have to personally pray for the meal before I could eat and that going forward I could take my turn and pray a “real” prayer rather than the memorized one, I was content.

My Dad was my hero!

As a child, he was my hero!  I thought he could walk on water and I wanted to be just like him when I grew up.  He not only taught me the importance of prayer, but he gave me a love for God’s Word.  My earliest memories are of Dad, after a hard day’s work, sitting at the kitchen table reading the Bible.  Along with prayer, reading and studying the Bible was a high priority with him.  He taught me how to use a Bible dictionary, a concordance and commentaries.

Then my hero was gone!

When I turned 14 my father made a 180 degree turn in his life.  He deserted my mother, my sister and me and turned his back on all he had taught me.  Refusing to pay any child support and showing no affection for me, he broke my heart.  My hero died.  As I entered the world of teenagers and then a young adult, one of my greatest desires was to regain a close relationship with my Dad.  But sadly, it never happened.  He remained very critical of me and everything I did.  Every visit I had with him seemed to end up with me either crying or running out of his house in anger.  How I longed for him to say he loved me or to give me a word of praise.  But sadly, it never happened.

Then he was REALLY gone!

A few years ago my father died.  I had long ago forgiven him for deserting me, had long ago forgiven him for his unkind treatment to me.  So when he died, I thought all would be okay.  Surprisingly, I found myself filled with the greatest anger I had every known.  I felt hatred for him.

I struggled with this and prayed for deliverance from this pain.  How could I feel more anger when he was dead than when he was alive?  How could I feel hatred for him when I never felt that emotion when he was alive?  After many months of soul-searching and prayer, I realized that as long as he was alive, I had hope that we would somehow become close again.  That one day I would visit him and hear him say that he loved me or that he was proud of me.  But now, that would never happen.

Anger and hatred finally gone!

After months of prayer, I’m grateful that the anger and hatred subsided in my heart.  But all that was left was a sense of great loss and sadness that the memories of my father were not pleasant ones.

Thank you Dad!

But then, I attended the Bible study on prayer and listened to myself tell how my father taught me the importance of prayer.  What a great gift he gave me!  Although my memories of my dad when I was a teenager and later, an adult, were not pleasant ones, and I never received the love and approval from him that I so desired, I do owe him a great debt.   He taught me one of the most important lessons a person can know – that God loves me and He hears me when I pray.

So – I have a great inheritance for which I am thankful.  It’s my choice to cling to those memories and be grateful!