Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
As I was driving to the office one morning I was thinking about how easily we forgive people at times and how hard it is other times. I began analyzing why that is. From my human perspective I came to this conclusion – forgiveness is offered in direct proportion to the level of hurt we experience. Let me give you an example.
The other day someone said something to me that in retrospect could have deeply hurt me. At the time it did not. I totally took it as the jesting of a friend whom I trust and love. The next day I received a call from that friend and he apologized for what he had said. He asked me to forgive him. I said there was no need because there had been no offense taken. In his heart he felt he had sinned, but I had not received it that way in my heart. I told him he was forgiven. That was easy.
But what if I had been deeply hurt by his comment? How easily would I have forgiven him? I think we can all relate to situations in our lives that have hurt us so deeply that the act of forgiveness becomes difficult. You see, our pride dictates our response. What if that’s how God responded to us?
We choose whether the sin of another person offends us or hurts us. Not so with God. Every sin, no matter how humanly insignificant, offends God’s holy nature. Idleness is equivalent to idolatry. Lust is the same as lying. Manipulation is no less severe than murder. Yet when with humble and broken hearts we repent of that sin before the throne of God, we are forgiven. There are no strings attached. There are no degrees of penance based on the severity of the sin. Since the condemnation of death is the same for every sin, the forgiveness provided by the blood of Jesus is also the same for every sin.
Every sin is forgiven.
No matter how deeply God’s nature was offended by our sin, He forgives immediately and completely when we turn from the darkness and walk in His light.
The challenge is for us to forgive others the same way. No matter how deeply they hurt us, or how long it took them to step out of the darkness and admit it, we are to forgive them immediately and completely and walk in the light with them again. No penance required. No stipulations and safety nets applied. Total forgiveness and restoration to fellowship and friendship is extended when humble confession and repentance is displayed.
I know that sounds hard, but with the commanded to forgive others as God forgave us He has provided the power of Christ in us to obey it. Only one thing can stop that power from accomplishing the work of forgiveness – pride. When our feelings take precedence over God’s forgiveness, we have allowed pride to quench the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Pride is not kind. Pride shows no compassion. Pride is not forbearing and patient. Pride does not forgive. Love alone conquers pride.
Love that forgives others is a love that was nurtured by the forgiveness of another. Like the woman who poured oil on the feet of Jesus, love had been nurtured by the forgiveness she had received from Him. Jesus used her as an example to us all when He said, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
When we realize the incredible love it takes for God to forgive us for our sin we will then love enough to forgive others the same way. Those who daily repent of sins, no matter how seemingly insignificant, are constantly reminded of the awesome love of the Father and His forgiveness. They are the ones who know how to forgive others no matter what they have done. Those who wait to repent of only the “big” sins are the people who have trouble forgiving the little sins of others. They do not live in the constant joy of God’s wonderful love.
Which person are you?