Ephesians 4:32   “And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Again I ask…Do you need to be reconciled with anyone?  If so, I encourage you to pray about your situation and then go to them right away. 

As I shared in the first part of this message, God put it on my heart to be reconciled with someone I had wrongfully criticized.  I didn’t mean to be critical.  My intentions were just to share an opposing opinion.  However, the truth was that in sharing my opposition with her, I was criticising her, and I was wrong to do so. 

I needed to apologize, and she needed to hear it.  My words had hurt her.  However, being the incredibly faithful person that she is, she had forgiven me long before I offered her my apology and seemed to bear no ill will toward me. Talk about GRACE!   I was so humbled by her gracious spirit.

I learned several lessons from this experience.  The most important is the power of grace.  1) By offering me forgiveness, she kept herself from being hardened by the side effects of unforgiveness, keeping her heart soft and available for the Lord.  It was through the power His Spirit that she could offer me the grace that she did.  2) By receiving the grace of her forgiveness, my heart was touched.  She witnessed through her grace.   I have even greater admiration, respect, and appreciation for her than I did before, and hope that this will lead to a renewd relationship between us. 

Often we teach more by what we don’t say in particular situations, than by what we do; and clearly, actions can speak louder than words.  Hers taught in a positive way.  Mine led to the need to learn from my mistakes. 

And isn’t it awesome how God teaches us the way that He does?  There couldn’t be a better time for me to exerience the grace of forgiveness than now, as we observe the Season of Lent and prepare for the celebration of Easter, acknowledging the sacrifice Jesus made when He died to save us from our sins. 

I’ll ask it one more time…Do you need to be reconciled with someone?  Is that someone God?  Do you need to be forgiven?  Do you need to offer forgiveness?  If so, please pray about it and let God lead you in grace to forgive and to be forgiven. 

Dear God, I come before You now, humbled by this experience and blessed by the love, compassion and forgiveness shown to me through Your servant and my sister in Christ.  How she reflects the goodness of Christ and honors Him by doing so!  Please help me to live more like her.  As she graciously forgave me -even before I asked for her forgiveness – may I, also, graciously and uncoditionally forgive others, whether they ask for my forgiveness or not.  I offer these things to You for Your glory and ask then in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.   

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