The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, June 16, 2022 comes to us from Betsy Mitchell of New York.
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people." 9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-13 NIV
“Grace and Forgiveness”
I recently asked a former co-worker to lunch. It had been years since I last saw him, but I wanted to apologize face-to-face for an incident that happened at the office. In my mind, he had the right to be angry with me, so I arrived at the restaurant ready to face his ill feelings. To my surprise, he accepted my apology and did not make a big deal about the incident. We spent a pleasant hour together and parted as friends. I left the restaurant with a light heart and a clean conscience.
I used to make decisions based on what would turn out best for me rather than considering others. My selfishness directed my actions. I thought everyone should just take care of themselves. My relationship with Christ has changed my life significantly, and I am no longer the person I was when I mistreated my former co-worker. My Creator has forgiven that sin and all of my others. Because of God’s grace and forgiveness I can now look back at my life, see my mistakes, and take steps to correct them. In doing so, I have the opportunity to show others what God has done for me. And I am reminded of God’s grace when others, such as my friend, accept my apology and offer forgiveness.
I can recall far too many of my own sins that have harmed others. Hopefully, I have apologized or made amends for many of them and received forgiveness. For those from whom I have not been able seek that forgiveness, I pray that God has not only forgiven me, but also healed any injury. Certainly, I try not to harm anyone – ever -- but all too often I fall short of that goal. No matter the circumstances, I trust that God “has my back” so to speak -- that God’s grace and forgiveness is always with me. Are there moments in your life when you know that God has “had your back” by blessing and forgiving you?
Forgiving God, thank you for your forgiving mercy. Help us to love others by asking for forgiveness. And give us eyes to see your grace in the lives of those around us. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
My new life in Christ gives me strength to face my mistakes.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (NIV)