OK, which is it? Thumbs up . . / or down . . ?

Well, you can't make an informed decision until you know all the facts. They teach that in nursing. So let's begin with the scripture for today.

Jesus said this: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

Have you seen the movie "Gladiator" with Russell Crowe? In one of the prettier scenes, you see tall grass swaying with the wind. It was close-up footage and so realistic, my sister felt like she was right there. It also has violence. Two men fighting in an arena surrounded by massive crowds. The King has the final decision - does the loser die or not? He gives the signal with a thumb.

Do you ever give a thumbs up or down? I do sometimes while driving, but keep it to myself. I wouldn't want another driver to mistake it for a different hand signal.

Today is about mercy and it seems close to forgiveness. There is a parable about forgiveness of debt in the Bible in Matthew 18:21-35. A servant is forgiven a HUGE debt by his master after the servant begged him. He had been bound for prison along with his family while all of his belongings would have been sold.


That same man found one of his fellow servants who owed him a small sum. The man choked the fellow servant, then put him in prison until the debt was paid. The other servants told on him. The master called him wicked and said should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? It was the original servant who went to jail. Jesus summed it all up with this . . .

"So also my Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

This sounds like Matthew 6:14-15 again from Jesus: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

That sounds like God's forgiveness of me depends upon my forgiveness of others. But we know that's not right because our forgiveness from God is not earned.

Here are some other verses to cross-reference.

Mark 11:25 / Ephesians 4:32 / Colossians 3:13 / James 2:13 / Luke 6:36

So what does God want from us? If we have bitterness or hate in our heart for any other person, confess it as a sin (1 John 1:9) and turn away from that sin.

Forgiving others is showing you are genuine in what the Sermon on the Mount is teaching . . genuine in the way you are living to please the Lord and not yourself.

He wants to see if we are serious . . . or not.

Anger, bitterness and hate eat away at your own soul. Does the person you despise even lose sleep over the situation? The love of the Father can cancel out those bad feelings and show you His love so you are at peace. It's a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). If you are reading this, you are still breathing and it is not too late. Talk to Jesus about it all . . .

Evie Tournquist Karlsson . . it was her voice in the 1970's that stirred within me a feeling that I loved but didn't know Who it was. I purchased one of her albums and soon learned it was the Holy Spirit moving within me . . drawing me to Him. Together with watching Billy Graham Crusades and listening to WEEC Christian radio (Bill Pierce and Bob Teal) I was born again and life began to change.

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