If I was to ask you, ‘what is one of the more debilitating obstacles that stand in our way as Christians’, how would you respond? Sure there are many, but I believe one of the biggest is the need for forgiveness.
What is Forgiveness?
We hear of God’s grace and mercy… but what does that really mean? Mercy is defined as something we don’t get that we deserve, whilst grace is getting something we don’t deserve. God shows His grace and mercy to us through Christ by giving us what we don’t deserve in the gift of salvation and eternal life with Him, thereby taking away our deserved punishment of death and eternity separated from God.
How much each day do we reflect on and thank God for the sacrifice He has made in order to forgive us and save us from our deserved punishment?
Why is Forgiveness so Hard for us?
It goes against our proud nature. Sadly the person worst affected by unforgiveness is the unforgiving person. If we don’t forgive those around us, we allow bitterness and anger to brew within, eating at our souls. We may even try to suppress areas of unforgiveness within, but that doesn’t mean bitterness doesn’t get to do its dirty work.
Forgiving doesn’t mean we must tolerate the sins of others either. God doesn’t tolerate sin. He proved that by sending His only Son to die for our sins! We must graciously and firmly face the person who is wronging or wronged us, highlighting their wrong, and promoting peace for both parties. We must also accept and face the consequences of the other person’s sin, just like God had to with Jesus dieing on the cross.
We are all Equally in Need of God’s Forgiveness
It’s tough to forgive, but the fact is it is something we must all do to live in freedom from the bone-decaying bondage of bitterness. Let’s not allow our pride to convince us of the lie that we are ‘better’ or in less need of forgiveness than someone else. The truth is we are all equally in need of God’s forgiveness because we all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). It goes against our nature, so let’s look to and rely on Jesus as our example and strength, so that we can humbly approach others with a forgiving heart. It’s something that is seen less and less these days, but forgiveness is such a beautiful act of love. To approach someone and forgive them, no matter the crime they may have committed against you or someone else, is to reach out in love, and to mend a broken bridge. Through that act we restore relationships, find peace and joy within, and reflect the awesome love that God showed us through Jesus on the cross.
Who do You Need to Forgive?
What steps are you going to take to forgive others in your lives?
May God soften our hearts and give us the strength to reach out in love and forgive those around us, allowing His peace to radiate within.
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.