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Eternity 16 - Prayers That Work - Praying For Forgiveness and Inner Peace

(1 John 1:7-10 NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. {8} If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. {10} If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

(Matthew 6:12-15 NKJV) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. {13} And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. {14} "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. {15} "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

These verses tell us that we will find grace and forgiveness and connection to the life of God as we ask God to forgive us and cleanse us. They also say that we will find inner peace as we forgive those who have hurt us.

By the time we reach the age of thirty we have begun to be conscious that our life has left a lot of "debts' behind, some financial, others relational, some intellectual or moral. By then most of us have made some serious mistakes and badly hurt at least one other person. There are days when we look at our now blotched copybook and cringe.

But there is another side to this, other people have done badly too - and some of them have done badly to us. We have been injured by others, hurt, abused, ripped off and betrayed. Frequently this generates anger inside us at the "injustice" we have suffered - and indeed it was wrong. There is no getting around that.

Some try to solve this by saying 'its karma" - you do wrong to others and others do wrong to you and in the end it all balances out, if not in this life maybe after a few reincarnations. Others are not so accommodating and take to the law courts or even to terrorism to even the scales.

Christianity has a unique solution to the problem of the scales of justice - and its called the cross. If we give all our debts on Jesus they are paid in full at the cross, we are forgiven, and there is no need for karma or revenge. We walk away with a new copybook and cleansed soul. We can walk in the light and have full fellowship with God. The life of Jesus can be released in transforming power in our soul. All just for the asking.

At first this seems unjust because people are programmed to believe in karma or in revenge. If all I have done wrong is forgiven - what does that say about the victims of my actions and the trail of debts I leave behind? Surely in such a case I have escaped all moral obligation. I can do what I like, even be a perfect psychopath as long as I pray a prayer just before I die?

Not if the price of my receiving grace is dispensing grace. Not if in order to be forgiven I must also forgive others. No psychopath can life a life of grace and forgiveness.

In fact the cross is just and merciful and a sort of reverse karma. Karma says the injustice I do is returned by the Universe. The cross flips this two ways. First it says its not punishment exchanged for punishment but grace for grace. The merciful receive mercy, the forgiving receive forgiveness. Instead of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth it is mercy for mercy.

Secondly it changes the order of things. In karma I act first, then the Universe responds. If act badly the Universe responds by punishing me. In the end I am the passive recipient of whatever the Universe chooses to dish out. In grace God takes the initiative and I respond. First I receive mercy, then I give mercy. First I am forgiven my debts, then I forgive the debts of others. I am made into an active agent of grace rather than a passive recipient of karma.

Thus once we are forgiven we cannot keep our anger and our desire for revenge. That would be inappropriate. If God forgives all we have done wrong then we need to forgive what our parents or our spouse has done wrong. This is the proper outworking of having received the forgiveness of God in our life.

In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story about a servant forgiven a large debt , who refused to forgive a fellow slave a small debt. This brought down the full anger of the King.

The forgiveness of God is not given so we can feel good about ourselves while exacting revenge on others. The forgiveness of God is given so we can both feel good about ourselves and also give others the chance to feel better about themselves. Just as God will forgive us if we ask for forgiveness, we are to forgive others of they ask for forgiveness.

(Matthew 6:12 NKJV) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

By entering into the reverse karma of the cross we can know peace and relief from the pile of guilt and inner debts which can be cleared away completely just for the asking.

By also living in the consequences of the cross we can let go of the anger and rage and unforgiveness that undermines our existence.

Much of the turmoil of modern existence can be put down to guilt and to rage. We are better off without these things in our lives.

To get rid of them we need to come to the light of God, take all our dark stuff out, and put it at the foot of the cross where it is dealt with, and done away with forever. Then when all our stuff has been dealt with we need to go out and start forgiving others.

This will cease the raging within and we will find not just the temporary peace of a just forgiven soul, but the established peace of a soul without malice.


John Edmiston

How To Become A Christian


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