December 4, 2016 –

Over the past few weeks we have talked about the three things that the Apostle Paul says, “will live forever.”  Those three things, according to 1 Corinthians 13:13, are faith, hope, and love.  Paul then goes on to say, “and the greatest of these is love.”  What makes love the greatest of the things that remain?  It is the power of love.

Love’s power is the ability to transform lives.  It motivates, heals, overcomes, and overwhelms.  Love transforms us and those around us.  We overcome evil with love so that it (love) can transform evil.  Love is never idle; it is always active.  I want to specifically talk about one area that the power of love compels us to action.  That is the power of love to forgive.

Our joyful holiday celebrations are meant to celebrate the season but they can often brings up hurt and pain from the past.  As we move through the holiday gatherings we are often confronted by the offenses and challenges we have had with people in our past.  Many of these are with family members or former close friendships.  We have lost those relationships because of disagreements, offenses, or bitterness.  The love that you are; the love that makes you who you are as a Christian will begin to ask you to resolve those issues and forgive those people.

In Mark 11:25 Jesus tells us, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so the your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

I find it interesting that Jesus tied forgiving others to our prayer life.  Specifically, to our faith in getting the answers to our prayers as seen in verse 24 of the same chapter.

As I said earlier, love changes things.  It can change the atmosphere and it can change people.  That is why Jesus said that we are to be salt and light in the world.  We add God’s flavor and shine his image into the world we live in.  We flavor and shine into our families, friends, jobs, and communities.  Christians are to be culture builders and not culture followers or culture avoiders.

Let’s get into today’s message and find the power of love to forgive others for the hurt they have caused us.