- Have you put your faith in Christ for salvation? Tell me about that time and what difference it has made in your life.
- Tell me about your view of forgiveness. What does that look like in your mind?
- Have you ever looked at what the Bible says about forgiveness, and how important is that to you? Can we look at what God says and discuss it together?
- In your eyes, how big is your sin compared to the sins of others?
- What grievances stand between you and this person? What can you tell me about those and how they got started? What attempts have been made to resolve them?
- Are you aware of the effects of not forgiving and holding grudges? Don’t you want to be free from that? (Matthew 18:15-35)
- Have you specifically asked for forgiveness wherever necessary?
- Are you willing to withhold judgment and trust God to deal with the offender justly in His timing?
- Have you forgotten your own sin debt? (Luke 7:36-50)
- Do you want to be known as the kind of person who forgives willingly?
- Do you believe Christ’s sacrifice is enough for your sin? For the sins of others? (I John 2:2)
- What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
By Karen Winkelman
My spirit senses the lightness of spring coming and rejoices.
The sun came out last week after weeks of cold, cloudy weather and the daffodils have poked their way through the crunchy, brown grass. Buds are developing on what looked like dead branches days ago. It seems like everyone around me has perked up and is carrying a lighter load. Coats are left behind and strangers smile. People everywhere I go seem…happy! Even the dog delights in having more squirrels and birds to play with.
My daughter in college commented on a similar phenomenon on her campus. Frisbees and volleyballs, guitars and drums are evident in the open areas. Umbrellas and boots wait in dorms for rainy days to come. I can almost remember those carefree days, too.
It seems everyone around me is embracing the lightness of spring, the purging of winter’s “weight” and the exchange of our dark browns and blacks for pastels and bright colors. Hmmm… Sounds a lot like Easter, doesn’t it? Jesus took on the weight of our sin and cancelled our debt (Col. 3:14). There is a lightness in our souls when as believers we celebrate the work of the cross, ending in the victory of our Savior’s resurrection.
And yet these very same souls can be so full of burdens we add back in. We forget that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30)! Specifically with mentoring, I’ve noticed that many mentees who write in carry such a heavy load. The challenge for me is to figure out where they are in relation to the cross. Have they come face to face with our Redeemer? Or do they know Him as Savior, but not as their Refuge and Strength? Have they learned how to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Comforter? He alone can lighten their load!
The help and hope we share with others is found shining in our risen Savior. He lives! And he lives not just among us but within me! My prayer is that my mentees will exchange their burdensome load for the spring-like lightness of a soul resting in Christ alone.
He is Risen indeed!
By Carol Geckle
For a while after I became a Christian, I continued to struggle with wanting to repent of certain sins. I knew God didn’t like my stubbornness, but somehow I convinced myself it was all right to hold on to these secret sins because no one knew … right?
Then one day I came across Proverbs 28:13 … No one who conceals his transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (NRSV).
Suddenly, the light went on! In one of those blindingly clear moments when the Bible seemed to be written just for me, I realized that holding on to these “secret” sins was keeping me from the very thing I wanted most-God’s closeness and perfect will for my life. I decided to write down a list of these secret sins. I was hoping they weren’t really all that bad, but unfortunately it was surprisingly difficult to look at them on paper. My written sins couldn’t dress themselves up to seem prettier than they were. My heart was crushed, and I prayed right then for God to forgive my stubbornness and each individual secret sin.
I immediately felt at peace, but my forgiven heart didn’t like looking at my “paper of sins”-and I certainly didn’t want anyone else to see them-so in a moment of high drama I took the paper outside to burn it in the barbeque. To my frustration, it wouldn’t burn. It flamed and charred, and then went out. Four matches later, all I had managed to do was singe the edges. Every word was still readable, just like the sins themselves had been readable by God. But I didn’t give up, and with several more matches I reduced the whole list to a small pile of ashes.
Burning my paper of sins didn’t automatically rid them from my life, but it did show me an important lesson from God: His forgiveness is immediate, but repentance takes persistence … never give up!