Psalm 68:19 (CEV) - We praise you, Lord God! You treat us with kindness day after day, and you rescue us.
I John 1:7-9 - But if we walk in the light, as he in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 4:15-21 - Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Dear God, just as You have forgiven me, I want, no, I need to forgive a certain person as well. Since he has failed to be the bigger person that I had known him to be, help me to be the bigger person. Help me to blow him away with the same loving kindness You show me every day. Give me strength. The passages in I John are actually really valuable lessons. They are either evidence of his heart or they could be evidence of my growth. I had some of the words I needed for a letter, but not quite all of them. Help me. Guide me. Lead me. Help me find some unpressured time to just write. Help me give him the door to receive forgiveness and final reconciliation. What he did was wrong. How he did it was wrong and unnecessary. But the fact is that he did it. He has one thing he can do to show willingness to receive forgiveness. He knows exactly what that is. And if he truly does believe in You, then he would find a way to do that one thing without worrying what others might think or do. So not only do I ask for You to strengthen me and help guide me, but I ask You to strengthen him and guide him. This will not be an easy thing by no means, but it may the very thing we both need to go through in order to have insurmountable growth. As for fellowship with others, that is hard when most churches seem to actually hate people with special needs, evidenced by the fact that most do not have special needs ministries for children AND adults. They do not embrace people and families with special needs. They try to "fix" or "change" the person with special needs. When they finally get told to cool their jets, they might develop "care teams" that ultimately do MORE harm than good and permanently damage the person. When a person who commits a sin that gets made public to an entire congregation can be fully restored while a person who commits a "smaller" sin that never gets made fully public and then is diagnosed with autism but suddenly gets treated as though autism is the sin and does not get restored fully after going through the same process, something is wrong. It evidences a discrimination that should NEVER exist in a church at any point in time. That church lacks evidence of You, God, and I know it now. I know it and I would imagine he does, too. I would imagine many have awakened to that. While these passage speak to my heart, and his heart, they also speak to the heart of that church. Essentially, You gave a litmus test. You have a few, but they all seem to come back to whether someone says they love You but how do they treat their fellow believer or brother/sister and if they say they love You but act with hate toward their brother/sister, then they cannot possibly love You because You are love. Therein lies the dilemma for me though. I know I need to offer a chance for the offending brother to receive forgiveness and the opportunity to demonstrate forgiveness as well, but yet, should I since based on his actions, he does not even love You, God? Do I offer them an opportunity to receive forgiveness or do I reject them altogether because based on their actions they have evidence that they do not have You? They speak so much about grace yet they failed the real test of grace when it came to the action of grace. Give me wisdom, God, for I am in a conundrum. Thank You, God for forgiveness and for mercy and for grace and for loving kindness. In Jesus' Name, Amen!