Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick to Forgive

Colossians 3:12-14 
 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

It's not easy to forgive sometimes, especially if you are a new Christian, but as you grow in the Lord and seek to be more Christlike He will give you a heart that is full of compassion that makes it easier to extend forgiveness. It doesn't happen overnight. It's something that we all have to work on, but the Word is very clear that forgiveness is not an option, we are told to do it.

We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, to put it all over ourselves. To make it part of our very being. I guess for me I started developing a more compassionate heart when I realized how much the Lord has forgiven me of and then I realized that I am no better than anyone else and if God has forgiven me of much I can certainly extend forgiveness to those who have wronged me. That's where the humility comes in: when we realize that we have done wrong in our lives too.  It's all a growing experience.

We are to 'bear with one another', that means put up with, overlook faults and petty offenses. We are to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us: freely and quickly. We have to practice forgiveness to get it right. When we first start trying to live a life full of compassion, things are rocky at first. We keep reminding ourselves of the offense instead of moving on from it. We keep rehashing the whole situation and then we get wounded all over again. But if we keep taking our feelings to the Lord in prayer He will see our desire to have a compassionate heart and He will help us on our journey.

I love the song Refiners Fire by Brian Doerksen. It talks about how we are purified only by Christ and our willingness to be holy and more like Him. The lyrics go like this:

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

This should be our greatest desire to be more like Jesus. When we ask Him to purify our hearts He will give us situations to help that process along. We don't suddenly wake up in the morning with a pure heart and a holy disposition. It's a process and we have to be willing to keep fighting against our old nature that is not Christlike and take on His attributes. The song says that "I choose to be holy". It's our choice to turn away from an unforgiving spirit and to extend forgiveness. It's our choice to be kind and compassionate. It's our choice to be more like Him.

So be quick to forgive others their offenses against you, because Christ is quick to forgive you when you mess up.

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