The Spirit of God comforts, calls, and challenges.

You are comforted in moments when God seems hidden. You are called to share the gifts the Spirit reveals to you. You are challenged to be the presence of Christ in all you do, all you say, and in who you are.

Be open to the Spirit’s comfort and challenges now in these next quiet moments.

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Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 20:21–23

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What a curious thing Jesus says to the disciples at the end of this passage about sin. If we forgive someone, their sins are forgiven, but if we hold on to the sins, they are retained. Jesus does not say who retains them. Do you ever wonder if the bad feelings we have towards other people who have wronged us is what Jesus means?

Perhaps one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is our capacity to forgive. When we harbor resentment or anger towards someone, it is usually you and I who lack peace in the relationship. Again, Jesus is offering the Holy Spirit to guide his followers, sending them into the world to carry on the ministry he began, one driven by two commandments: to love God and to love our neighbors. We cannot do either very well if we cannot forgive.

What relationships do you have where you have not forgiven someone, regardless of whether they have asked or not? Is now the time to claim this gift of the Spirit?

Brian Foreman

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God of mercy, forgive those who have trespassed against me. Forgive me for those whom I have trespassed against. Allow my life to be guided your Spirit of forgiveness and love. Amen.

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As the Spirit comforts you, give comfort to others. As the Spirit calls you, respond with your gifts. As the Spirit challenges, be the loving presence of God to the world around you.

Brian Foreman

Brian Foreman is an author, speaker, and teacher from Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to being an adjunct faculty member for Christian education and youth ministry at Campbell Divinity School, Brian is a congregational consultant for youth ministry and a frequent workshop leader for social media and parenting. Connect with him on Twitter @b4man72, or on his website.

The Need To

Perry Ritter

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