Thursday, December 9, 2010

True Forgiveness

We have all had wrongs done to us that have caused hurt and wounded us deeply. It's part of our walk here on this earth. We will sin and we will be effected not only by those sins but by the sins of others as well. That's a given fact of life. We've all heard the stories told of feuding families, who for generations fought and did battle because of some wrong that had been committed against them. Sometimes no one could even remember what had caused the offense in the first place! How sad!

What is even sadder though, is when Believers treat each other in the same way as those feuding families. The world is full of people who have been hurt in a church or hurt by a Christian. Sometimes even in our own homes we give a conditional forgiveness instead of a Christlike forgiveness, which is unconditional. We put up a wall around us and even though we say we forgive with our words, we don't forgive in action. When we forgive we are to treat the person who caused the offense, as if the offense had never happened in the first place.

When we come to Christ and ask Him to forgive us of our sins, the offenses that we have caused against Him, He not only forgives us but He also forgets we had ever committed those sins. We are human, we are not God. We cannot always forget, but we can forgive. We can be just like Christ in that we give that person a fresh start, with no conditions, no strings attached.

Mar 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

The Word is clear that we are not to hold grudges. A grudge is unforgiveness. If we do not forgive, that is to give the person a fresh start, then our Father in heaven will not forgive us. We have to practice forgiveness. Sometimes it is not easy to forgive, but God has promised that He would help us if we only call on His name.

See what Paul tells the people of Corinth in 2 Corinthians 2:5-8:
"But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him."

If someone has hurt you be quick to forgive. Paul instructed the Believers in Corinth to forgive the one who caused grief and to comfort him. He also told them to 'confirm' or prove their love towards the offender. This is what we are to do. Not only are we to forgive, but if someone is repentant we are to assure them of our love for them and to restore our relationship with them. If we are asking the repentant one to be the one to prove their worthiness to us so that we can forgive them, then we are not forgiving in a Christlike manner. We are giving forgiveness with strings attached. Instead we are to be the ones to go to them and confirm our love towards them. We are to comfort them and show them they have truly been forgiven.

May God bless your relationships with true forgiveness, love and comfort.

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