Throughout my forty-six years in Australia, I have continuously frequented the various parts of the ninety-mile beach along our Victorian coastline. The gold and cream-to-white sand, the blue-green sea with its fragrant foamy spray, the breezes and winds are to me beautifully welcoming, whatever the season. But the most impressive, joyous sight has always been the thousands upon thousands of scattered half shells, as their prominent chalky whites and delicate pastel shades glint attractively all over the sand's mini-undulations as far right and left as the eyes can see.
Today, I'm thrilled to testify that it is this fascinating, innumerable shell view and mind picture that for many years continues to spiritually inspire me tremendously, and, yes, activates me into the obedience of Jesus' precepts and commands to forgive others as He has forgiven me. Here's what happened:
In my earlier years, Jesus' answer to Peter's question about how many times he needed to forgive someone was so overwhelmingly alarming to me, that I couldn't begin to imagine myself gracious enough to accomplish this much forgiveness, even though I had a deep appreciation and permanent gratitude of how very much I had received Jesus' forgiveness.
Matthew 18:21-22 – Then Peter came to Jesus and asked him, "Lord, how often do I have to forgive a believer who wrongs me? Seven times?" Jesus answered him, "I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy times seven." (GWT)
Wow! I used to think, I must forgive every believer seventy times seven. Is that four hundred and ninety times for each one, literally? I spent longer than I can remember in shock, and quite a few other negative emotions and resistances. I did! Talk about unbelief! Talk about denial! Talk about wriggling, wrestling, wrangling! I confess to this initial disobedience to my Lord's Word. I also want to confess to suffering the consequences of that disobedience: so much discomfort, disease, and dis-ease, spiritually, mentally, and physically. I truly did!
Mercifully, however, one day, the Lord by His Spirit spoke with His beautifully persuasive voice of truth: Rosemary, you know how often I have forgiven you? I waited. As many times as there are shells on My beaches.
Oh, my! Needless to say, I melted, exceedingly. Hallelujah! A glorious repentance was my privileged portion. All thanks and praise to His holy, forgiving grace! This experience with Him, along with the shell beach pictures, filled me with His desire to forgive as I have been forgiven by our Lord, by family, and by others, who also by their grace have readily "wiped clean my sinful slate", as it were. It is this plus His Word that ever persuades me to want to be that way, Jesus' way, with others.
Hebrews 10:16b-17 – "I will put my teachings in their hearts and write them in their minds." Then he adds, "I will no longer hold their sins and their disobedience against them." (GWT)
I love that we believers can ever celebrate through Jesus' Spirit that we can choose to be agreeably melted to obey His precepts and commands about forgiveness. When we relent and forgive all others in need of our forgiveness:
- We can blessedly reap His freedoms from resentful, negative thinkings and feelings.
- We can reap His health benefits spiritually, mentally, and physically.
- We can repent and ever receive our Lord's forgiveness.
Through Jesus' Spirit, we can do everything His Word teaches us to do. Bless His ever-persuasive, appealing, loving grace!
1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble. (GWT)
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus Lord, Master of grace toward us all. We praise You for Your ever-persuasive teachings, that as we obey them, we can become free of damaging, unhealthy baggage. In Your most generous name, we thank You that we can! Amen and Amen!