Q: I suppose you'd call me a "Christmas and Easter" kind of Christian, because those are about the only days I go to church (except for weddings or funerals). Why should I bother doing any more? — L.W.
A: Although I hope that someday you'll attend church more regularly, I'm thankful you haven't dropped out completely, and that you still make the effort to attend services on Christmas and Easter.
After all, Christmas and Easter commemorate two of the most important events in human history, and as you attend Easter services next week, I hope you'll pause to think more deeply about the meaning of these two days. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the divine Son of God, who came from heaven to save us from our sins. He wasn't just a great man and profound teacher; he was God in human flesh!
At Easter, however, we remember his death on the cross for us. He was without sin, but on the cross all our sins were placed on him, and he became the final sacrifice for our sins. Now we are forgiven and cleansed of our sins as we put our faith and trust in him. Easter also reminds us that Jesus didn't stay in the tomb but was raised from the dead by the power of God. And because he rose from the dead, we need not fear death if our faith is in him.
Let these truths sink into your soul during this holy season, and then by faith commit your life to the one who died and rose again. The Bible's promise is for you: "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Q: How can you forgive someone who's really hurt you and doesn't even realize it? My business partner was lazy and that laziness eventually destroyed our company, but he still blames it all on the economy. I'd be a hypocrite if I said I'd forgiven him, because I can't. — J.G.
A: Forgiving someone who has deeply hurt us — no matter what the person did — is one of the hardest things some of us will ever do. It's so hard, in fact, that I don't believe we can really do it without God's help. But with God's help we can — and I pray you'll discover this truth for yourself as you learn to forgive this person.
What is the key? The key is to understand how God has forgiven us. We don't deserve to be forgiven; we've rebelled against God and turned our backs on him, and there's no reason why he should forgive us for our sins. Even if we think we're fairly good, we still aren't worthy of God's forgiveness. As the Bible says, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).
And yet God reaches out and offers to forgive us, not because we deserve it but simply because of his grace and mercy and love. His grace is so great that he sent his son into the world to pay the price for our redemption. If God forgave us in spite of our sin, shouldn't we forgive others the same way? The Bible says, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).
Don't hold on to your bitterness and anger any longer for they'll become a poison to your soul. Instead, ask God to forgive you for your own sins, and then ask him to help you forgive this person and put the past behind you.
Q: Have you ever thought about how big the universe is and how small and insignificant we are by comparison? God (if he exists) can't possibly be concerned with what happens on this little speck called earth, can he? — W.Q.
A: I can understand why you feel this way, because the universe truly is so vast and complex that it staggers the imagination. And you aren't the first person to wonder about this; thousands of years ago, the psalmist asked, "When I consider your heavens ... what is man that you are mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:3-4).
And yet the Bible tells us that God is so great that he is concerned about even the smallest part of his creation — including us. After all, God created everything in the universe — even the smallest sub-atomic particle and the tiniest living thing. He also made the laws that govern their existence. But if he knows all about them, isn't it logical to assume that he also knows all about us? Of course he does. Jesus put it this way: "Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30).
God, however, not only knows about us, but he also loves us! Furthermore, he put within each of us the ability to love him in return. Tragically, however, we've chosen to go our own way and shut him out of our lives. The Bible calls this "sin" — and because of it, we are cut off from God, now and eternally.
But God still loves us, and he has provided the way for us to be forgiven of our sins and come into a personal relationship with God. That way is Jesus, who by his death and resurrection opened heaven's door for us. Why not give your life to him today?