Week 37 Let Your Troubles Fall Away
Give and it shall be given to you… I would love that ‘pressed down, running over’ return on my giving. But in context, what is Jesus saying we are to give? Forgiveness.
In 2 Corinthians 2 Paul exhorts the church body to forgive and comfort one who has fallen from grace. Why? So the devil won’t outsmart us, keeping the offended in bondage as well as the offender.
Instead, as I let go of offenses through the act of forgiveness, I release a sweet aroma to God. As in the burnt sacrifices of old, the altar of burnt offense pleases God. The thing about burning is that the neighbors can tell what you have in your burn pile by the scent.
I love the smell of burning leaves but not burning plastic. Some people love the smell of lavender oil, but some crinkle their nose at the scent. For those that smell the sweetness in our forgiveness, they seek out the source of that sweetness, Jesus who gives such grace. To others, those who cannot let go of bitter waters, that sweet smell is a ridiculous and offensive.
So in essence, I smell like something. I am hoping I smell like sweet perfume both to God and those around me.
2 Corinthians 2:5-11, 14-17
“I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.”
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ”