Friday, September 30, 2016

Be Merciful and Forgiving

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:12-13)

"Debts" here refer to sins. As we ask and accept God's forgiveness, we are to forgive others. A forgiven child of God operates by the principles of love and grace. It's unthinkable for us to seek God's forgiveness while withholding forgiveness. A forgiven person should be a forgiving person. Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is. Reflect Christ in all your interactions with everyone, including those who have wronged you. You're freely and fully forgiven by God. Now go and do likewise.

We need God to keep us from temptation and deliver us from the evil one (Satan) that tries to put in us evil thoughts. When someone mistreats you, it may be tempting to retaliate, to hold grudges, to indulge in self-pity, to complain, to gossip, to slander (your offender), or to employ silent treatment (ex: when you're mad at your husband for something he did or said). We need to pray and ask God to empower us to respond in Christlike manner with a forgiving spirit.

"Nothing humbles and breaks the heart of a sinner like mercy and love. Souls that converse much with sin and wrath, may be much terrified; but souls that converse much with grace and mercy, will be much humbled." (Thomas Brooks)

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
(William Shakespeare)

"O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wand'ring heart to Thee;
Prone to wander--Lord, I feel it--prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart--O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above.

(the last stanza of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, written by Robert Robinson)

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