Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
I must confess that in our study of forgiveness this week, I realized that there is someone who I have not forgiven, even though I have not seen that person in years and years. That unforgiveness has left me bitter whenever I think about the person I've struggled to forgive. I've been challenged this week that there is a much better way than living with the feelings of unforgiveness I have. This is particularly true in light of God's own forgiveness to me. You see, I have been greatly forgiven. How can I not offer that same forgiveness to others?
In Ephesians 4:32, The Apostle Paul writes that we should all be kind and compassionate toward each other. We are called to, as he writes, forgive each other just as Christ has forgiven us. Did you catch the words "just as?" We are to forgive "just as" God has forgiven us. As we look at this verse, the question we must ask ourselves is, "How has God forgiven us?" We saw earlier this week in Psalm 103:12 that God "has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." Basically, He has forgiven each us of every single one of our sins, and He does not hold our sin against us. In light of God's forgiveness, we are to show forgiveness to others.
When you think about your own life, do you have a hard time forgiving others? Do you tend to find yourself dwelling on the wrongs people have done against you? My friend, there is a better way. Unforgiveness only leads to bitterness and anger in our lives, and harboring bitterness and anger is no way to live. Choose today to forgive. After all, God has so graciously forgiven you, so it is only natural to want to extend forgiveness out of the outflow of God's forgiveness in our own lives.
Sagebrush Staff Writer
As we think about the way Christ forgave us, the only natural response is to offer others that same forgiveness. Is there a person who immediately comes to mind who you need to forgive? It's time to forgive that person. Out of God's generosity to us when He showed us forgiveness, forgive that person today.
Read Psalm 32:1-11 (NLT)
Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!