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Why We Must Choose to Forgive

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Why We Must Choose to Forgive

It happens to us all, while living our daily lives, doing our thing,  and someone hurts us.  Sometimes we can see it coming, sometimes we get hit on our blind side by someone we never thought would bring us harm.  Sometimes the same person hurts us over and over again, and often people hurt us with no attempt at an apology.  This can suddenly cause us to think thoughts we never would wish to think.  How we respond to the hurt can make all the difference according to the Scriptures.  Recently, I have found myself wearing the shoes of hurt, and walking in them is quite painful.  Completely blind-sided, to the Scriptures I trod, limping.

The result of turning the pages of Scriptures was less than satisfying.  I wanted a fight.  I wanted revenge.  I wanted justice.  My deep desires of hurting back my offender were pulling at me strongly.  However, the Scriptures were speaking.  God gave me the answers through His Word and it never has, nor ever will, steer me wrong.  His Word provides clear instructions on forgiveness, healing, restoration, and moving forward for His glory.   He sometimes gives us only one way that brings Him glory, only one way that is okay, only one way that is not sinful.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

This verse most of us know by memory, but how often do we struggle with putting it into practice?  It is certainly easier to take the wide road, the world’s road, the road that when traveled leads to hatred, ignoring, being unkind and giving the offender the treatment they deserve.  It is harder to walk the path that seems like the more difficult, mountain trail.  The difficult trail consists of prayers, weeping, and having the sense to see where we ourselves have been the offender.  We have offended.  We have hurt.  This trail, although the difficult, less chosen trail, leads to forgiveness, because we realize that we have also offended and were granted forgiveness in return.  We, likewise, should have been ignored, hated, but rather, we were given what we did not deserve.

We have offended God and therefore we must forgive our offenders.  That is the true mark of a christian.  The world will not forgive.  The world will be harsh, but God’s people will forgive.  God’s people will love.  God’s people will choose kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control.  This world will undoubtedly know that we are God’s people because of the hard decision we make to show the love of Christ in these things.  So this week I have had to make a choice.  I chose to forgive, be kind and love.  I chose to let things go and trust that God will avenge and convict.  I chose to be kind because God has been all of these things to me.  I  let my children witness my reaction of forgiveness.  They watch every move I make, it’s called homeschooling.  They see me at every moment, they hear every conversation I have, they are learning at home from me.  My response is not only revealing of who I am in Christ, but who I am before these little eyes.  If my identity is in Christ, then I will respond the way He responded to me, forgiveness.  We forgive others because He forgave us, period. Even when it is hard.  It is always hard.

Matthew chapter 18 presents a scenario of forgiveness and how Jesus answered Peter on this matter.  Peter asked Jesus how many times he was to forgive his offender, and Jesus gave him a shocking response.  Jesus told a story of a king that demanded a debt be paid to him by a servant that was unable.  After threats of selling the man’s family and possessions to pay the large debt, the king decided to forgive the man his debt and let him go free.  Shortly after, this same man confronted another man that owed him a small debt.  This man begged him to have patience and give him time to come up with the money, but there was no mercy, no forgiveness, and he had the man thrown into prison.  When his fellow servants saw this, they went to the king.  The king was so angry that this man had been forgiven a large debt, but could not forgive a small debt owed to him.  This grieved the king and he became angry, giving him over to his torturers until he could pay his original debt.  “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”  Matthew 18:35  Forgiveness is not easy, it is satisfying to have the last word, and to be right, but Jesus demands a different way.  Forgiveness looks like Jesus, on the cross, forgiving His offenders, me included.   As the apostle Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”  C.S. Lewis

“What, then, is the root motivation for being a forgiving person? “Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We are not to forgive “as God . . . forgave” us. God forgave us in such a way that infinite joy in his fellowship becomes ours. God is the goal of forgiveness. He is also the ground and the means of forgiveness. It comes from him; it was accomplished through his Son; and it leads people back to him with their sins cast into the deepest sea. Therefore the motive for being a forgiving person is the joy of being freely and joyfully at home with God. At great cost to himself God gave us what we needed above all things: himself for our enjoyment forever. God’s forgiveness is important for one reason: It gives us God!”  John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

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