Thursday, November 1, 2012

Forgiveness, Temptation and Evil

UV 566/10,000 Forgiveness, Temptation and Evil Luke 11 v 4 “And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Forgiveness is not something we do for the other person’s sake but for our own sake that we might be forgiven. It is mandatory to forgive freely in order to be forgiven freely. The same grace we expect to receive or received from the Lord at a point in time , we need to extend to all who have hurt us, abused us, harmed us or betrayed us. We need to forgive from our hearts, implying that we should no longer act or speak remembering a past wrong someone has done to us. It is difficult to forgive given the unfairness of the actions and words of others that hurt us deeply but when we pray for grace to forgive, the Lord who forgave even His unjust executors gives us the grace. This is the grace or gift of Jesus. A certain believer who lives in London who met me recently said that he was troubled for a long while by the words, “ lead us not into temptation” for how can God tempt anyone? Then, the Holy Spirit revealed that God indeed tempts no one but the Lord Jesus is asking us to pray that He does not allow us to enter or to remain in a place of temptation. For instance, that believer had inherited a lot of property that he had sold cheaply in yesteryears. If he had held on to that for some years, he would have run into great wealth. But, that very same wealth would have ensnared and trapped his soul to remain away from God. The words, “ lead us not into temptation” implies a prayer to protect us from the evil within us, the tendency to be tempted by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The preservation from temptation is the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit. The first thought that struck my mind as I woke up from momentary unconsciousness in Sriperumbudur after the massive blast that killed the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and 17 others was, “ We are living in such an evil world.” The intelligence, imagination, resources and energy of man is put to such evil use. The Lord Jesus also in the days before His climbing the hill of Golgotha pleaded with the Father to preserve His disciples, His sheep from evil. The odds of sheep surviving the attack of a predatory wolf is 0 to one. It is only by the grace of God that we can survive the evil in this world. This is the evil from without: the threats, dangers and attacks of the enemy, his agencies and agents. These are real and cannot be glossed over. We need to pray for a strong fencing around us and our people. This is the grace and gift of our Almighty Father. He often rushes to our help with a loud voice that scatters the enemy. Prateep V Philip

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