Evidence of a New Identity
We find that in Jesus Christ, we have new identities that are so much greater than anything we could achieve or accomplish on our own! It changes us and how we interact with other people. The true mark of someone who has their identity in Christ is that they are a minister of reconciliation (restoration). This is the call to forgiveness.
Here is the big question: If you are a follower of Jesus, are you known for forgiveness and restoring relationships? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to ask to forgive you? You may say, “No one”, or “I’m all good, not bitter at anyone.” (By the way, bitter people rarely know they are bitter. It’s like that first day at the beach when you forgot to wear sunscreen. Everyone knows you look like a lobster, but you have no idea - yet. Oh, it’s going to hurt like crazy tomorrow, but right then, no problem. That is how bitterness works. You think you are fine, but as that bitter root grows in your heart, it is going to get very painful, very fast.)
Here are some signs that forgiveness may be needed in relationships:
- Who do you not want to be around? Who do you avoid?
- Who do you have nothing nice to say about?
- Who causes you to go into a shell the moment they enter a room?
- Who are you blaming for the current pain in your life?
- Who is it hard for you to pray God’s blessings for?
Chances are, there is someone who comes to mind and forgiveness is needed. To live in the reconciliation of God’s grace is to learn to extend the grace of God to those who have wronged us. Reconciliation is an act of one who is free, and the stakes are high! But, a heart of reconciliation is of the utmost importance. You see, God uses those who are a new creation in Christ to show others the beauty of the Gospel. That is huge!
If you say you are a Christian, is your life pointing to the grace of God, or preventing people from seeing the grace of God? God help us if we are causing someone to stumble because we refuse to forgive and restore right relationships. Followers of Christ are called and empowered to be ambassadors - champions of grace in all relationships.
Are you that ambassador? That Champion who shows God’s grace? If not, this would be a good time to ask God to forgive you and restore a right relationship with Him. When that happens, His grace will freely flow from your life.
Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Cedarcrest Church
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