Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Undeserving Can Be Forgiven

Lord, I come to you today, as humble as I know how Father, to say thank you.  I thank you for your grace and mercy.  I thank you for your Agape love Father.   I thank you Lord for always answering our prayers and guiding us to where you need us to go. Father, it’s all about you Lord, all about what you want us to do Lord.  I pray that you decrease us Lord, and increase the Holy Spirit in us.  Remove any thoughts or desires that we have Father that will cause us to sin against you.  Give us pure and holy thoughts, Father.  We continue to pray for our family and friends that are in need Lord. Father you know who they are and you know their circumstances and what they are going through Lord. I pray that you guide and protect them.  Father all these things I ask in your Son Jesus’ name.  Amen.

                                                                                         Prayer by: Judith Notice

The football season which just passed had many players that were the topic of discussion from sportscasters.  One in particular was Michael Vick.  We all heard of how he participated in a dog fighting ring, and possibly witnessed or was even part of the killings of underperforming dogs.  He was charged, he pled guilty, he was given jail time, and was released.  He lost many endorsements and to the physical eye, his career was done.  He wanted to return back to the sport he loved, and many teams were reluctant to sign him because of the bad publicity that followed him.  Andy Reid, who is the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, convinced the owners to give Vick a chance and they did.  The protests were disturbing.  No one was standing with picket signs, but many voiced how Vick should never play football again, he is an animal, he deserves to rot in jail, so forth and so forth.  I could not believe what I was hearing.  Nonetheless, he was signed to the Eagles in 2009, the same year he was released after serving 18 months in prison.

He became a backup quarterback and touched the football here and there.  His 2009 season was not a good one.  In 2010, although still a backup, he was getting more plays and he seemed to be a bit better than he was prior to prison.  The Eagles starting quarterback got hurt, and Vick stepped up, and man did he step up.  It was win after win, to where the coach had no choice but to make Vick the starter.  Oh my goodness the protests and outrage were pouring in.  What amazes me, the organization PETA, who were at the forefront of protests regarding Vick when this mess started, has accepted his apologies, has accepted the jail time given, and are no longer condemning him. So why are these people not following suit?  One person said they will no longer watch football if any team signs him.  Are you serious?  As ridiculous how it may sound to some, and I pray that none of the protesters were Christians, we must be reminded of this question; how many of us, did not get what we deserved?

In the story of Jonah, the prophet displayed resentment regarding the inhabitants of Nineveh.   The bible states “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jon 1:1-3)  Jonah was a prophet of the Lord.  His duty was to speak what thus said the Lord to people who the Lord has directed him to.  He chose to do the contrary?  Why did he do this?  The bible states “So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” (Jon 4:2)  Jonah felt that these people were undeserving.  He eventually did speak as the Lord instructed, but part of him was concerned that if the people repented, the Lord would not punish them.  When he received confirmation that the people indeed repented, and that the Lord held His punishment, Jonah became angry.  The Lord said “Is it right for you to be angry?" (Jon 4:4)

This is the challenge many of us face.  We forget that there is a God who resides in heaven.  His abode is higher than ours therefore His thinking is higher than ours.  The bible states “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:7)  We, with our limited capacity of thinking would want someone to hurt or be severely punished for something they have done, where God knows that there is none righteous, no not one (Rom 3:10), and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).  But there is room for redemption and it can be had if one repents of his ways.  That is what God’s word stipulates. 

We need to be mindful of allowing vengeance and condemnation to enter our thoughts regarding people.  We need to remember that we too have been forgiven for a wrong.  Michael Vick has paid his penalty and deserves the right to move on.  Now all of these people are angry that Vick is now successful again.  They need to be angry at themselves.  God’s word is just.  It states “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;  Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.” (Pr 24:17-18)  These animal lovers no longer saw Vick as a human being who makes mistakes.  They actually exalted their animals higher, and these animals have no soul. They were not made in the image of God, yet nonetheless, they wished him the worst.  God saw this and removed his wrath.   The ones who we feel are undeserving, God will forgive them.  Remember this, there was a time when others did not feel you deserved forgiveness, yet God saw otherwise.  Amen!

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