Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Merriam-Webster defines Forgiveness as to cease to feel resentment against (an offender): Pardon; to give up resentment of or claim to requital.

Reconciliation is defined as to restore friendly relations between; to cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible; to bring into agreement or harmony; to reconsecrate

In her blog, “Forgiveness Does Not Equal Reconciliation”, Anna Smith writes,

“Forgiveness for past wrongs does not guarantee a future relationship set up exactly like the past relationship. Forgiveness does not equal total reconciliation. When we are dealing with people who have sinned against us, we should long for true reconciliation. But we also need to realize that sometimes, in this world of sin and woe, reconciliation is not always possible, or it might be possible later but not now. Reconciliation might not be possible because you can cancel the debt against someone (forgive them) but YOU CANNOT FORCE THEM TO RECONCILE WITH YOU. True, actual reconciliation requires that both parties are actively working for the good of the other person and the good of the relationship. You can forgive people, but you cannot force them to make that effort. And if they won’t, you don’t have to go on pretending that this is a good, healthy, reconciled relationship.”

There are countless scriptures in the Bible that discuss forgiveness. I John 1:9 states,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Also, Mark 11:25 it states, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

God forgives our sins and also, He wants to be in a “relationship” with us. As we saw from the earlier writing by Ann Smith, true reconciliation requires BOTH parties to actively work for the good of the relationship. Now that God has forgiven our sins, He wants us to have a relationship with him.

Forgiveness is not the end of the road!

II Corinthians 5:17-19 says,

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

God has forgiven us and reconciled us to Himself. Likewise, He has committed us to the world to reconcile it back to Him! We are on Assignment! Take your assignment seriously!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.

Introduction, Appetite, and Abuse

Recently, I was reflecting on my weight-loss journey to better understand the process of how people come to lose focus, thus losing control of handling vices. For many, this is a touchy subject, but one that I believe is necessary in order to see victory in other areas of their lives.

Whenever it comes to overcoming vices such as drugs, alcohol or other types of addictions, we need to gain a biblical perspective.

The Bible says in James 1: 12-15,

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

I John 2: 15-17 states,

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Fatheris not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

I Corinthians 6: 12-13 states,

12 I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren’t good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to. 13 For instance, take the matter of eating. God has given us an appetite for food and stomachs to digest it. But that doesn’t mean we should eat more than we need. Don’t think of eating as important because someday God will do away with both stomachs and food.

But sexual sin is never right: our bodies were not made for that but for the Lord, and the Lord wants to fill our bodies with himself.”

What the enemy does is first, introduce us to something that brings pleasure to us. It could be food, drugs, alcohol, sex, or any other vice. Next, we acquire an appetite for that thing. For me, food was something I enjoyed very much. Like most of us, we have those favorite dishes that we or others make. The issue occurs when we use food or anything else as a coping mechanism. This is where abuse occurs. ANYTHING that is not being used in its proper context is ABUSE.

As we saw earlier in James Chapter 1, each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

This is why Paul declares in I Corinthians 9:27,

“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

It is important for us to recognize any triggers in our lives that cause us to resort to food or vices. Commit those things to God and allow Him to bring about the necessary disciplines to overcome them, or in the case of food, allow Him to help us not continue to be a slave to our appetites.

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think about It.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

A number of years ago a very popular saying started showing up on tee shirts, coffee mugs, social media, and in conversations. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” quickly became the new “buzz” phrase.

However, what does this ACTUALLY mean? The Bible says in Philippians 4: 6-8,

 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Also, in Matthew 6: 25-34 it states,

25 Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto [a]the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

As a Christian, not sweating the small stuff means that I need to look at life thru a completely different lens. It means that I have an advocate when life’s challenges come. Not only does God NOT want me to not sweat the small stuff, but God also doesn’t want us to sweat ANY stuff!

God tells me to cast the WHOLE of my care on Him, because He cares for me! I Peter 5:7 Allow God to take all of your burdens. He is very capable of handling it all!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think about It.

Forgetting the Weightier Matters!

This morning I awoke with the words in my title on my mind. I immediately went to the scriptures to get the complete context of this phrase. Matthews 23:1-36 states,

 “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation.

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [h]hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that [i]sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who [j]swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who [k]dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint, anise, and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and [l]self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and [m]adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood[n] of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Let us make sure we are not doing outward acts and forgetting the weightier matters of the law LIKE justice, mercy, and faith!

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.

Eat The ENTIRE Meal!

I like green salads. I like the varieties of ingredients that go into making a salad. Most green salads contain loads of healthy ingredients that are good for the body. The great thing about salads is that you can be as creative with them as you want.

I remember watching videos of babies tasting various types of vegetables from salads and the faces they would make because the taste of those vegetables was not necessarily what they expected, or they didn’t like it!

I’ve also seen where babies were given an ingredient in a salad, like a slice of apple, and their little faces would light up with excitement as they motioned with their little hands that they wanted more!

Using this analogy of green salads, how many of us want to pick and choose the aspects of God’s word that suits our fancy but discard the parts that cause us growing pains.

Growing pains are very real and they don’t “feel” good.

King David wrote in Psalms 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

Also, in Romans 5:1-5, it says, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Finally, in Acts 20:27, Paul in his farewell to the Ephesians states, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

It is important that we desire and seek to know ALL of God’s counsel and not be just satisfied with the parts that feel good or speak of only the parts we want to hear. We must equally be willing to endure the not-so-enjoyable parts that stretch us and cause us discomfort. It is in that stretching process where God is working on our spiritual muscles and positioning us to be victorious in every situation.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; THEREFORE, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

This is Leslie Eaddy Brooks, Think About It.