Matthew 6:12; 14-15 (NIV84)
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Colossians 3:13–14 (NLT)
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Today is day eleven of the 40 Days of Prayer that I am engaged with my church family in. It’s about forgiveness.
For so long I focused on behavior, the do’s, the don’ts. I didn’t pay attention to “do” forgive others. I can’t do that on my own or in my own understanding.
The motivation to forgive others, truly forgive them, can only come from understanding the Gospel. Let me be specific. We defied God. He allowed us to struggle with Him as He revealed Himself through the record of the Bible. He sent His son, Jesus, to show us what He was really like. How He would live life as a human, how He would love others and remain sinless. We rejected and killed Him. He refused to stay dead and demanded the attention of all human history when He was raised from the dead. He went to prepare a place for us to spend eternity with Him, if we would allow Him to live life through us as He changes us from the inside out.
When people hurt me, it hurts bad. Sometimes I feel punched in the gut, or worse. While those times hurt, God wants me to experience that so I can learn to see His love. He displays the value of love, mercy an grace as He allows me to experience the pain that entered the world with sin.
I don’t see Jesus command and teaching of forgiveness as a threat. I see it as His exposition on just how deep His love is for us.
God uses pain to allow me to see deeper into His glory. “Forgive and forget” isn’t His teaching. His teaching is “Experience pain, see how hard it is to forgive, see how much I love you, now share that love through your forgiveness of others.”
Jesus is teaching me about Him, not about behavior to appease Him. Jesus is letting me know that if I don’t see Him for who He is, my faith is shallow.