“Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges.
Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
(Col. 3:13 TLB)
Forgive? How do you forgive the one who…
* sabotaged your husband’s business.
* introduced your child to drugs or alcohol.
* stole your identity, leaving you with a financial mess.
* abused you sexually as a child or did so to your child.
* lured your teenager from the internet into running away.
* kidnapped your child and sold him/her for sex trafficking.
* drove down the wrong side of the expressway at night in a drunken stupor and killed your whole family.
Maybe none of that has happened to you. So, have you ever had to forgive…
* your husband for having an affair?
* your best friend who lied about you?
* your mother-in-law who has never said a kind word to you or about you?
First and foremost, God forgives us…
The Word tells us that, in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Eph. 1:7a NKJV) That precious pouring out of His blood is as a veil of disappearance, leaving no trace of whatever we put under it.
When God forgives our sins, He removes them “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” (Ps. 103:12 NKJV) tossing them “into the depths of the ocean,” (Micah 7:19b TLB) never to emerge.
We forgive others…
If God has forgiven us, we are to forgive others. However, sometimes we forget that forgiveness of others is not optional. Jesus declared this in His Sermon on the Mount, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:14-15 NLT)
So, if we don’t first forgive others, what are the consequences? No right relationship with God can prevail; we destroy our flow of intimacy with the Lord. It also hinders our prayers, for if we harbor any sin, as David said, “the Lord will not hear.” (Ps. 66:18b NKJV)
Forgiveness is a choice of the heart. Leonardo daVinci learned a great lesson in forgiveness. While painting the Last Supper, daVinci had a bitter falling out with his assistant, who started it all because he had some burr under his saddle against daVinci. As daVinci painted the faces of the disciples, he came to the face of Judas and spitefully painted the face of his assistant.
When daVinci came to the last face to be painted, which was Jesus, he drew a blank. He could not put a face on Jesus. Then, God spoke to him and told him he must forgive his assistant. So daVinci went to him, crying and begging the man’s forgiveness. The assistant complied.
When daVinci removed the face of the assistant from Judas, he was then able to paint Jesus, for he clearly saw His face.
Do you have any unforgiveness that obscures the face of the Lord?
Are you “gentle and ready to forgive”? Is forgiveness the choice of your heart?
~Lord, “forgive [me of my] sins, just as [I] have forgiven those who have sinned against [me].” (Matt. 6:12 NCV) And when I find it difficult to forgive, help me to be willing to forgive. As David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139:23a, 24 NIV)