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Forgiveness is the grace to start over. We are sinners and the consequences of our sinning spread like blood in the water. Inevitably we experience its painful effects in our relationships. Whenever we hurt someone else we try to rationalize our actions and make excuses for what happened. When others hurt us we want revenge and if we give in to that desire for revenge a vicious cycle of violence develops.
To continue the imagery of the gate, the latch on the gate keeps it shut. Pull as hard as we wish, we can't open the gate. But as we'll see, God is willing to reach down and unlatch the gate for us, so we can walk through. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (NIV). Could Paul actually mean that? Are we really never to gossip or slander or judge another person? If so, then why is this one of the most rarely obeyed verses in the Bible?
If you knew you would die at the end of this month, would you live differently? There are always things of secondary importance that we have to deal with, but if we knew we were going to die soon, perhaps tonight, what would we do differently? What do you want the people standing around your grave to say, and how does that image effect how you live today?