Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
At times, I feel as if I am the only one who feels the way I do, or thinks the way I do – that is until I share my thoughts or feelings and find that I am entirely not alone. There have been those in my lifetime that I have found easy to forgive. Because of the love I have for them; because of who they are to me or just because I value them far above any wrong they could have ever done, I forgive quite easily.
Then, there are others to which I hold to another standard entirely. I justify my decision about them in my heart. I declare their behavior to be abhorrent and tell as many as will hear to garner support for my opinion. I gather support for my point of view and feel that because I am in the majority of thought, I must be right.
It is upon one such occasion that God smote my heart with this thought – “Is _______ saved? And if so, aren’t they my child as well?” Ouch! “What if I treated you like you treat them?” Ouch again… Sometimes the lessons God desires us to learn can be painful. Painful because the realization that we are not only in the wrong, but we have swayed others to believe as we do about one of His children.
The acknowledgment of the wrong to God is confession. Making it right with that person and those I influenced is repentance. We must be about both. It is in this area that the church reveals her heart. True desire for pleasing God comes from Him, by Him and through Him – in us. More accurately, when we carry out the exercise of forgiveness (confession and repentance), we show humility, love and allow the power of God to be revealed in us. Forsake it and we become hypocrites.
Often, I must remind myself just where it is I came from. I cannot forget the muck and the mire in which God found me. The sins; the bondage; the utter wickedness of unbelief that bound my soul for Hell. To know that all my sins; past, present and future have been washed away – forgiven – is a precious truth that brings great joy and comfort.
My Father sees me as righteous as Jesus; pure, perfect and holy. I know that I am truly undeserving of any such attributes, but having been gifted such by my Heavenly Father, why would I withhold that same forgiveness that has been extended to me from someone else?
If I have been forgiven, I must forgive. As I have been shown mercy, I must show mercy. If I have been given grace, I must surely do likewise. To withhold any of these from someone would set myself as the judge over their life and in danger of judgment of my own.
Whatever has been done to me by someone else, it could never equal what my sins did to Jesus Christ. As this year comes to a close, we look to resolve things in our lives. Whether it’s to lose weight, complete a project, start a new career or just move on from the old to the new, we need to loose ourselves from the wounds, the scars and the baggage of the past.
Burn that list of offenses and make it right. Ask for forgiveness or forgive as you have been by God. Wipe the slate clean. Erase what has stood between you and that one for good. Cover it with the blood of Jesus Christ and ask that you not be allowed to return to it – ever again.
Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
God chooses to have a sanctified memory with us – shouldn’t we learn from Him to do the same?