Devotional

Forgiveness and Acceptance (4 June)

Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.
Isaiah 54:4-8

All of us have probably suffered from rejection at certain points in our experience. Some of us, unfortunately, have suffered it so regularly, so deeply, that it has formed our personalities and the way we relate to other people.

When a person does something against me, there is something in me that wants to keep that person at arm's length (at least), to have as little to do with that person for a long while.

We can be very thankful that our God does not deal with us that way. All of us have hurt him in many ways, and yet he is always ready to receive us back in a moment if we will only come to him.

In (Matthew 16) we read how Peter spoke unwisely, contradicting Jesus' prediction of what awaited him. Jesus had to rebuke Peter in front of the others, saying "Get behind me, Satan." How marvelous it is, then, that we read at the beginning of (Matthew 17) that only six days later Jesus took Peter with him when he went up on the mountain to be transfigured. This was one of the highest moments of Jesus' ministry, one that he would only share with three of his disciples.

I might have chosen one of the others and let Peter think a bit longer about his mistake. But our Lord had already set it aside. He did not reject Peter.

In one of the worst cases of sin in the first generation church, Paul ordered that a man be put out of fellowship (1 Corinthians 5). Even so, in his next letter to the same church, written not long afterwards, he told them that "It is enough that this person has been punished in this way by most of you. Now, however, you should forgive him and encourage him, in order to keep him from becoming so sad as to give up completely. And so I beg you to let him know that you really do love him." (2 Corinthians 2:6- 8).

"For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you."

- 4 JUNE -

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