Prayer: Forgive us as we forgive others, God, and help us to forget those transgressions. Amen.
Reading: 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Every day, as you wake up and start afresh, it’s important to remember that God’s mercies are brand new. God looks at us with new eyes each day. We, too, should learn to live in the present and appreciate the newness of each day.
But, let’s be honest: it’s hard to forget the past. The collection of memories that we have sticks with us, especially conflicts with people- which is inevitable when you live in community with people for the summer. You have probably heard the phrase, “Forgive and forget.” It might be easy to say that you forgive someone, but it is often hard to forget what happened. Painful events stick in our memories.
Paul tells us that we knew Jesus in human form shouldn’t keep view Him in that way. He was crucified and raised back to life—changed into something new and exalted as our Savior. Likewise, when we come to Christ in faith and repentance, we are also transformed—made into a new creation. This means we should walk in harmony with others on staff who also believe in Christ. We need to look at the new in them instead of the old. So yeah, we need to forgive and do our best to forget. That’s how God sees them—with new eyes and new possibilities.
One summer at camp, the staff was studying scripture and told that there is great power in telling someone that they are forgiven. Not only is it powerful for the receiver of the words, but also for the forgiver. Later that summer, an event happened where a few of the counselors did not follow the rules. I had to confront them. They admitted their mistake and I told them I forgave them. It was a powerful moment for both parties.
As we deal with conflicts, it is wise to remember that those who are in Christ are a new creation. We should look at each other with new eyes, even when we’ve had conflict with them. We need to not only forgive, but forget! --Chad Hershberger
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