Bringing in Another Year

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Today as we begin the new year, we want to take a closer look at a few things. Many things have happened over the past year and now so many of those things have become memories. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, so we must treasure today. At twelve midnight on December 31st we begin anew, but every day and even every moment is a new beginning. We must make the most of every minute because no one knows what the next minute will bring.

So when it comes to people, do we really want to hold grudges? Were all those arguments and fights worth the tragedy of separation? The song that comes to my mind is, “Auld Lang Syne.” That is the song played every year at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The words tell us a lot, and I think they are very important.

Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish song that came out about 1787. It means “Old Long Ago” or “Old Times Sake.” It is a song about friendship, and it goes like this: “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? / Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne (old times’ sake)? / For auld lang syne (for old times’ sake) my dear, for auld lang syne (for old times’ sake) / We'll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne (for old time sake). / And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine! / And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne (for old times’ sake).”

The cup of kindness was a drink shared by friends. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Kindness is on the list of godliness. And as God’s people, Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-15, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Forgiveness: this is what believers are to do. When the disciples ask, “How often do I need to forgive my brother,” Yeshua answered this way in Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Yeshua said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Yeshua in Matthew 6:14-15 tells us, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” And in Matthew 5:23-24 He says, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

The Bible speaks over and over again that we are to love because our Father so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us so that we who believe may have everlasting life, and He loved us when we were still sinners (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). God is love and one of the fruits of the Spirit is love. Love is the greatest of the three: faith, hope and love. Love is godliness and holiness. Love is a commandment. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love must be true or else it is fake and evil as Romans 12:9-10 tells us, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

1 John 4:16-21 puts it like this: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Yeshua. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

So as we begin the new year, or if we are just ending the day, let us forgive one another and truly love one another with acts of kindness. For Yeshua tells us in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” and He ought to know because He laid down His life for you. Is there anyone you need to forgive today? Go to that person and make things right and then say, “Let us lift up the cup of kindness, “For old times’ sake.”

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