Is there someone from your past to whom you need to make restitution? Restitution is restoring or paying back something that has been lost, stolen or damaged. Is there someone you need to go to and seek forgiveness? Is there a letter you need to write or a call you need to make?
Lamentations 3, 4 & 5
Making Amends for Your Past
I love this little book. There are some great principles contained in these 25 verses.
Paul was writing to Philemon about a runaway slave by the name of Onesimus. In God’s providence, Onesimus had met Paul in Rome where he heard and received the gospel. Now Paul was sending him back to his master to make restitution and to submit himself to the authority that God had originally placed him under.
8 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ— 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.
12 I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. 14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.
Here is Paul, the great apostle, he could easily have just told Philemon what he needed to do, but instead, he appealed to him as a brother and a friend.
In Mark 10.42-43 Jesus said, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.”
Like Onesimus, just because God forgives us for our sins when we put our faith and trust in Him, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to make amends to people we’ve hurt or wronged in some way.
Is there someone from your past to whom you need to make restitution? Restitution is restoring or paying back something that has been lost, stolen or damaged. Is there someone you need to go to and seek forgiveness? Is there a letter you need to write or a call you need to make? Perhaps that other person hurt you, too, but have you taken responsibility for your part without blameshifting or minimizing your sin? If not, why not pray about the best and most God-honoring way to do so?
For more information about handling the past biblically, you might want to get a copy of the book, Putting Your Past in Its Place: Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness by Stephen Viars.
Today’s Other Readings:
Yet He Will Show Compassion!
In the midst of Jeremiah’s grief over the fall of his nation he came back to this in chapter 3:
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
32 Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
His compassions fail not. Great is His faithfulness. The LORD is good to those who wait for Him. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion!
Is there an area of grief or heartache in your life? If so, spend some time meditating on this passage.
As Near as His Word
Verse 152, “You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth.”
We have all had those times when God seemed far away? Yet, He is as near as His Word because He and His Word are one. If He seems far away to you, sit down and spend time reading your Bible. Read it thoughtfully and prayerfully. Let Him speak to your heart in the pages of Scripture.
Knowledge, Understanding & Discernment
“The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.”
Matthew Henry had this to say about verse 11:
Those that are rich are apt to think themselves wise, because, whatever else they are ignorant of, they know how to get and save; and those that are purse-proud expect that all they say should be regarded as an oracle and a law, and that none should dare to contradict them, but every sheaf bow to theirs; this humour is fed by flatterers, who, because (like Jezebel’s prophets) they are fed at their table, cry up their wisdom of Solomon. Those that are poor often prove themselves wiser than they: A poor man, who has taken pains to get wisdom, having no other way (as the rich man has) to get a reputation, searches him out, and makes it to appear that he is not such a scholar, nor such a politician, as he is taken to be. See how variously God dispenses his gifts; to some he gives wealth, to others wisdom, and it is easy to say which of these is the better gift, which we should covet more earnestly.
A rich man will find no shortage of people willing to tell him what he wants to hear, but a poor man who seeks knowledge and understanding will have the discernment to see through him.
I believe this is true not only with those who are rich financially but with those who are rich with power and authority. There are those who use favor and intimidation with the same results.
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about truth, politics, God’s standard, why God doesn’t immediately deal with some things and discuss the question, “Does Salvation + Time + Knowledge = Spiritual Maturity?”
Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
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Lives grind to a halt when people don’t know how to relate to their past. Some believe “the past is nothing” and attempt to suppress the brokenness again and again. Others miss out on renewal and change by making the past more important than their present and future. Neither approach moves people toward healing or hope.
Pastor and biblical counselor Stephen Viars introduces a third way to view one’s personal history–by exploring the role of the past as God intended. Using Scripture to lead readers forward, Viars provides practical measures to
•understand the important place “the past” is given in Scripture
•replace guilt and despair with forgiveness and hope
•turn failures into stepping-stones for growth
This motivating, compassionate resource is for anyone ready to review and release the past so that God can transform their behaviors, relationships, and their ability to hope in a future.
Shame controls far too many of us. Worthless, inferior, rejected, weak, humiliated, failure…it all adds up to wishing we could get away from others and hide. We know what shame feels like. The way out, however, is harder to find. Time doesn’t help, neither does confession, because shame is just as often from what others do to you as it is from what you have done. But the Bible is about shame from start to finish, and, if we are willing, God’s beautiful words break through.
Look at Jesus through the lens of shame and see how the marginalized and worthless are his favorites and become his people. God cares for the shamed. Through Jesus you are covered, adopted, cleansed, and healed.
Author Edward T. Welch, MDiv, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has counseled for over twenty-five years and has written many books including:
When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel
Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction
Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest
When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety.
You can also Shop for Other Resources
Getting ready for 2018
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.