May 12, 2014
Forgiveness requires that we face the truth: the truth that it was necessary for Christ to die and thereby pay the hefty price tag for our sins; the truth of our own sinful behavior and desperate need; the truth that if we are ever to be free, we must receive Christ’s forgiveness; and the most difficult, the truth that we need to extend the powerful gift of grace to others and forgive those who have hurt us. In order to experience true freedom in Christ, we must forgive those who have caused us harm or disappointment … even when that means forgiving ourselves.
All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But when we confess our sin to Him, God treats us much better than we deserve. And because of Christ Jesus, He freely accepts us back, setting us free from the grip of sin. How can we do less? Are we more powerful than God? Do we have a higher standard than God? Are we more upset about sin than God is? We certainly act like it at times.
We have both the reason and responsibility to forgive others because we are forgiven by the Lord. Forgiveness is a choice we make. When we forgive, it shows that we understand who we are, who God is, and what He really did for us on the cross. Anything short of forgiving others means denying Christ and the cross.
Sometimes it is hard to let go. In fact, when we have been deeply hurt, it may not be possible to forgive … on our own. But it is important to remember that we don’t have to do it alone. With Him as our model and source of power, and having accepted His forgiveness, we can then forgive others. We can actually enjoy the freedom and blessing God has for us by forgiving them and freeing ourselves from the power they had over us before we extended them forgiveness.
Our goal should be to glorify God, not to glorify ourselves. But, glorifying ourselves is actually what we do when we prioritize our pride, hurt, bitterness, revenge, spite, and other feelings above forgiving others by obeying God. Shift your focus to His love and power. It will be the best lenses you can wear.
Today, identify a relationship in which you need to reach out and forgive. If you are struggling to forgive that person, ask Jesus to help You. Then look at whether you really understand and have accepted who you are and the sins you have committed, that you’ve done nothing to deserve God’s forgiveness, and realize the unfair pain and sacrifice Jesus endured for you. Hopefully, the gift of forgiveness you received from Him will empower you to offer the same forgiveness to others. Whether you forgive or you continue to burden yourself by not forgiving is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I’ve kept these feelings of resentment and unforgiveness buried much too long. I know I didn’t deserve Your forgiveness. Help me understand why I should offer forgiveness readily to others. Grow my heart to know You and to beat with yours. Help me to face the truth about who I am and what I am not. Thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness. Help me to show the same to others, even those who have hurt me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who paid for all my sins, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32