I encourage you to live in forgiveness for Jesus sake
Forgiveness has to be worked through by everybody at some point, and often with monotonous regularity. Unfortunately, the human heart deceitfully works against us by naturally wanting to hold onto the pains of offense. The reality is that forgiveness, or the lack of it, affects every relationship in life and determines their quality. Its presence, or absence, can dramatically alter both physical and emotional health, with life changing consequences.
However, Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness cuts against every human inclination, and surpasses human reasoning. The two sides of this critical part of Christian living are a willingness to forgive, and a desire to be forgiven, with the source of both being self-sacrificing love (Agape).
First and foremost; spiritually speaking, heart regeneration is required in order to equip us for genuine and long lasting power to forgive, while also wanting to be forgiven.
Love and forgiveness are synonymous, as are their counterparts. The apostle Paul reminds us; “if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13). The apostles’ point is simple; a believer in Jesus Christ, having personally experienced the Lord’s eternal forgiveness through the Cross of Calvary, will forgive others when offended. Why, because, above all other virtues, genuine believers “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).
Love puts others first. Love never wishes the pain that it has suffered to be experienced by others. Love is ready to forgive, ready to seek reconciliation, ready to restore peace and unity. Love is also strong enough to dispense forgiveness while working through any required matters of justice or restitution. Therefore forgiveness, like love, is never conditional, especially while its application is being worked through.
Genuine, self-sacrificing love refuses to pick up the reproaches of others. As Paul put into practice with the Corinthian Christians; “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:10). This is precisely what Paul promoted when writing to Philemon regarding the run-away slave Onesimus; “If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account” (Philemon 1:18).
You see, Christian love relinquishes all rights to hold onto offense or to seek retaliation. The genuine love of Christ in a believer duplicates Christ; “when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). Christ living in a Christian never lashes out or builds us ammunition in preparation for an attack. The child of God knows that “God, through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Christians reconcile, they do not go to war! They love through forgiveness, even if at their own expense, as it was for Christ.
The bottom line is this; the lover of Christ prioritises, and surrenders to the supremacy of God’s love as the apostle Paul reminds us. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
To be continued…
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz