“Forgive… Again” and “Celebrate Our Unity, Savor Our Diversity”

#6: FORGIVE . . . AGAIN. Just as God forgives us, heal relationships by extending forgiveness with grace and generosity. Forgive everyone everything.
Start by praying for those you resent or hate. Ask for every blessing you would want for the one you’re struggling to forgive.
FORGIVENESS is not an easy practice, but it is such a healthy and necessary one. When was the last time you sat down, took a few deep breaths, and asked God to reveal a source of hurt or bitterness in your life? Where do you need freedom or hope in your life?
 
When we’re sick, we want freedom from painful symptoms, so we visit the doctor’s office, hoping they’ll prescribe a quick, short-term solution. But forgiveness does more than treat our symptoms; it goes straight to the root cause of our pain and heals us in deeper ways. Giving and receiving Christ’s forgiveness is life-changing because it frees us from everything that gets in the way of our calling to LOVE. Gone are our exhausting days of bitterness, anger, entitlement and resentment. Now, finally, we can live for Christ instead of being consumed by an invisible disease.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t prove who was right and who was wrong, nor does it prove that someone is more moral or religious than the next person. Rather, it is a bit like waking up in a jail cell of our own making and realizing that, all along, we’ve had the key to freedom in our pocket. Thanks be to God. – Kelly LePenske
 
 
 
#7. KEEP THE UNITY, SAVOR DIVERSITY. Thank God that, like parts of the human body, we’re not all the same. Be open to learn from others, regardless of their age, background, experience, or tenure with our church. We make better decisions and grow as people when we consider multiple perspectives. Listen with curiosity to others and consider how to use their ideas.
 
UNITY AND DIVERSITY are not opposites, but often they can feel like them. The easy way is for those who are similar to be unified and for those who are different to let their differences of opinion or lifestyle separate them.
 
We, though, are called to a harder yet more fruitful way. When we look to Keep the Unity and Savor Diversity, we begin to draw different viewpoints and people groups to the same table and into the same community. We are united by one faith in one Lord, empowered by one Spirit, and enlivened by one hope. Do not let our differences divide us, but savor a different viewpoint united under one Lord. – Dan Wonneberger