Thursday, January 10, 2019

Forgive Everyone About Everything

We are to bear with each other/to tolerate/to patiently endure one another's weaknesses, idiosyncrasies, imperfections, and offenses. Extend God's grace and mercy to others. Try to be understanding and overlook offenses. Do good and be kind to everyone, including those who are mean and unkind to us. "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." (1 Peter 3:8-9)To forgive others is to imitate Christ. Choose to forgive, instead of complaining, blaming, quarreling, holding grudges, or retaliating. "When they hurled their insults at Him--He did not retaliate; when He suffered--He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23) 

"None of us can live long in the thick of life--and not sometimes be touched rudely, perhaps even cruelly, by others. How shall we endure the things which hurt and wound us? We know what Jesus would do, what He actually did. "When they hurled their insults at Him--He did not retaliate; when He suffered--He made no threats. "They drove the nails into His gentle hands, and as the iron went crashing through His tender flesh He prayed, "Father, forgive them!" They hung Him on the cross--but in answer to that cruelty, instead of a withering curse upon the world, He wrought salvation there for men!" (J.R. Miller)

"Whenever I see myself before God and realize something of what my blessed Lord has done for me at Calvary, I am ready to forgive anybody anything. I cannot withhold it. I do not even want to withhold it." (Martin Lloyd Jones) 

"The person who is living by grace sees this vast contrast between his own sins against God and the offenses of others against him. He forgives others because he himself has been so graciously forgiven. He realizes that, by receiving God's forgiveness through Christ, he has forfeited the right to be offended when others hurt him." (Jerry Bridges)

We must forgive indefinitely (according to Matthew 18:21-22). Love "keeps no record of wrongs!" (1 Corinthians 13:5b) We must forgive those who offend/wrong/hurt us as the Lord forgave us. That means no keeping track of offenses. It means seeking no revenge and having no resentment. 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. "Freely you have received; freely give." ~Jesus (Matthew 10:8b)

When we have a hard time forgiving others, let's consider how much God has forgiven us. Countless times, right? Compared to the extent and degree of offenses we've committed against God, whatever offenses done to us by others are puny. Yet, we have trouble forgiving them. True forgiveness from the heart is not easy, especially if the same offender keeps repeating the same offense over and over again. We need the Holy Spirit's help to enable us to offer forgiveness over and over again. May we treat others with the measureless grace and mercy that God has poured out upon us! Live forgiven and live to forgive readily!

Some may say that we are to forgive only those who repent and ask for forgiveness. I personally believe our forgiveness should not only be unlimited but also unconditional. It's for our own good (health and peace of mind) and it's for God's glory. God wants us to forgive everyone (including ourselves...sometimes that's the hardest thing to do) about everything, regardless of whether the offender acknowledges his/her wrongdoing or asks for forgiveness or not. "Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying our heart." (Unknown) "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." (Lewis B. Smedes) "We don't forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it--because we need it." (Bree Despain) There is freedom that comes through forgiving others! When we choose to/are willing to forgive, we move away from the hurts towards the healing.

"Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness." (Corrie ten Boom) 

Unforgiveness/bitterness/resentment is a hindrance to our prayers and our intimate fellowship with God. If we don't forgive, we disobey God and suffer consequences. "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)
"If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer." (Psalm 66:18-19) Yes, unforgiveness is sin! 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can never thank You enough for Your inexhaustible grace and forgiveness for me! Please enable me to readily forgive others and myself as You have forgiven me. Please help me always see people through eyes of grace and mercy. Please empower me to love and forgive others like Jesus. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

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