Category Archives: Jesus

bitterness, anger, forgiveness: reflections in ephesians 4 (part 3)

Forgiveness by Eyob B Kassa

This is the final part of a three part series reflecting on Ephesians 4:31-32. You can see the other parts on anger & bitterness here and on forgiveness here.

This part is going to focus on how we can “put off” bitterness and “put on” forgiveness. What drives us to forgive in this extravgant manner? How can we forgive this way without burning ourselves out?

Let’s remind ourselves of the passage in Ephesians 4 one more time:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The way we can forgive like this without burning out is found in the last part of v32. Paul instructs his readers to forgive, not out of obligation, not purely so to obey a command, not out of guilt or in order to be pious. Paul says, forgive because in Christ you have been forgiven.

Unless we see that we are just as broken, just as evil, just as in need of forgiveness as the persons who sin against us, we will not be able to forgive. Read the rest of this entry

bitterness, anger, forgiveness: reflection in ephesians 4 (part 2)

Forgiveness by Eyob B Kassa

Yesterday I began some reflections in Ephesians 4:31-32 about bitterness and anger and this post will focus on forgiveness. How do we forgive? Do we need to forgive and forget? How can we ensure that someone doesn’t hurt us again and again?

These were some of the questions that were raised at the end of the last post and I noted that I needed to answer them here.

Let’s remind ourselves of the passage in Ephesian 4:31-32;

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The first question involces the notion of “forgive and forget”. I noted that, in Tim Keller’s words, in order to forgive not only do you have to forego being the executioner, you also revoke your right to judge the person. You cannot be the executioner, you cannot actively seek to bring about your own idea of justice or vengence. And you also revoke the right to be the judge, to pass sentence and will the penalty or will revenge on the person even if you do not carry it out. Bitterness is the inward condition which holds a person liable for a sin (Tim Keller).

So if you cannot act as judge or executioner when someone sins against you, does this mean the only option is to forgive and forget?

Not only is this not the only option, it is often not the right option! In addition, it is almost impossible to forget, especially in serious cases. You may forgive and actually forget, but most of the time this is not a conscious decision – it just happens. But in cases of  serious sins, such as abuse or worse, this is almost never a reality. Read the rest of this entry

an average day of revolutionary love

Reading The Irresistable Revolution I was inspired by how Shane Claiborne describes “an ordinary day”. I was going to write about this but I figured that this quote says all I wanted to say. Read the rest of this entry

“your will be done…. I think”: reflections on matthew 6:10

Prayer by Angu Walters

Praying “your wil be done” (Matthew 6:10) is harder than one might think. In fact, I think it is down right scary!

If we pray, “your Kingdom come, your will be done” we are asking God to align us with his priorities, with his mission – YOUR will be done, NOT mine. To pray, “your will be done”, means abandoning our own priorities and our own mission in order to be aligned with God’s priorities and God’s mission.

So often, even when we use these very words, we might find ourselves praying and asking God to change the situation to suit ourselves. But, as Andy Stanley would say, prayer is not so much about changing God but about changing us.

We experience stresses, life decisions, anxiety, pain, suffering… we probably experience it most days or most weeks. Many of life situations result in uncertainty. Our job can be uncertain, our financial situation, family relationships… many things in life result in us feeling uncertain, unsure of what to do, unsure of what will happen. Life can be a struggle and things can fall apart, and things don’t necessarily go the way we planned.

It is at these times that we often find ourselves praying more than we normally would.

But if we are honestly seeking God’s Kingdom – God’s will, not ours, God’s priorities, not ours, God’s mission, not our own – then this is a scary kind of prayer. Read the rest of this entry

An Unconventional Beginning: Hope from Scandal

Ever gone through and looked at your family tree? Any scandals in it? Any people who have given you a “less than desirable” heriatge?

Ever looked at Jesus’ family tree?

The book of Matthew, in Chapter 1:1-25, records Jesus’ genealogy and it’s is unconventional to say the least. It’s bizarre… it’s scandalous.

If you cross reference Jesus’ genealogy with what is in 1 Chronicles you will find a few people missing. And this is because Matthew, the writer of this genealogy, is only writing down who he sees as being important in Jesus’ line.

The most important name is that of David (v6). David was a King of Israel and there were many prophecies about the messiah, the saviour of Israel who would come from the line of David. David is important because it shows that Jesus, who claimed he was the messiah, Jesus’ genealogy fulfils the prophecies about the messiah coming from David’s line. If you want to show your Kingly heritage, you would want a pure genealogy showing all the nice pure Jewish people that give you the backing to be King of the Jews. Read the rest of this entry

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