22 BOCNEWS.com DECEMBER 2017 wicked ways from thoughts and acts that displease God…… and turning toward a life that reflects godly ways. God cannot bless evil, and He will not reward those who practice evil. To do so would violate His very nature. So if we want His bless- ing, we must honor His character by pursuing His ways. “Be Holy,” He urges us, “ for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:15-16). The crowd that watched Jesus heal the paralytic responded with excitement and enthusiastic to His dramatic display of power (Matt. 9:8). But they overlooked His more significant ability to forgive sins – a power that deeply troubled the scribes (Matt. 9:2-3). As we come to the close of anoth- er year, examine yourself; is there someone you haven't forgiven? When you think of their name that pain hits you, why did they hurt me like that...you begin to relive the whole incident over again. If God can forgive each one of us for our sins and short comings surely we can forgive someone who lied, cheated, stole etc..from us. Not forgiving someone might be holding your blessing back. “Vengeance is mine….says the Lord.” The power of forgiveness is immeasurable. Jesus challenged us as His followers to forgive oth- ers who have wronged or hurt us (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35). That may seem like a simple act, but anyone who has struggled with pain and anger knows that it takes enormous power to authentically forgive – to lay aside our own hurt and reach out to an offender with the embrace of a pardon. On the other side, forgiveness can release the wrongdoer from paralyzing guilt and even turn around the course of the person's life. Forgiveness is as powerful and liberating as the healing of a paralytic. And it's a power that Jesus has delegated to His follow- ers. (John 20:23) My brothers and sisters I say to you don't let this year come to an end without forgiving the per- son or persons who hurt you. As Followers of Christ, it's the right thing to do, God wants us to be “Holy”. We should be grateful for God's grace & mercy each day of our life. Merry Christmas FORGIVENESS ... continued from page 20