Do you know people who walk around with a mental rap sheet with the goods on all who have offended, hurt or angered them? My friend Alan shared with me about a man where he works who cannot forgive him for an incident that occurred well over five years ago. Any chance he gets to stick Al with evil he maximizes. It makes for a tough work environment.
Ephesians 4:32--And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave youin Christ.
Colossians 3:13--accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.
Somewhere along the path of walking with God a gorgeous concept takes hold of our hearts and changes forever the way in which we view people. We call it forgiveness. The Apostle Paul wrote the Christians living in Turkey asking them to forgive each other—not because he told them to; not because it was an early church fad; not so they could get their own way; not so people would be impressed! He asked them to forgive each other and the basis upon which that forgiveness came was the example God set through sending His Forgiver—Jesus! They were to forgive because God forgave them. We are to forgive because God forgave us.
Did we earn His forgiveness—hardly! Did He owe us—absurd! Did He forgive to manipulate us so He could accomplish His agenda—unnecessary! God forgave us on the basis of love! We know this because Ephesians 4:32 is followed by 5:1,2—“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
Friends, one of the greatest feelings you can experience is to truly forgive someone else. The exercise of forgiveness is the expression of love! Are you carrying resentment against another person? Jesus said, "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing" (Mark 11:25).
Are you fed up with those who repeatedly wrong you? Peter seemed to think there ought to be a limit as to how much a person should forgive another. He asked, "Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”Jesus rocked his boat by replying,“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven" (Matthew 18:21,22).
A great indicator that we are becoming more God-like is that we understand how undeserving we are of God’s forgiveness and therefore in humility consider it a joy to forgive those who have hurt us.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the flower leaves on the heel of the one who crushed it.—Mark Twain
Forgiveness constitutes a decision to call forth and rebuild that love which is the only authentic ground of any human relationship. Such love forms the sole secure ground of our relationship with God as well. Indeed, it is only because God continually calls forth and rebuilds this love with us that we are capable of doing so with another. Thus, to forgive is to participate in the mystery of God’s love . . . Genuine forgiveness draws us right into the heart of divine life.—Marjorie J. Thompson in "Moving Toward Forgiveness", WeavingsMarch/April 1992
©2001 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)