Welcome to today’s blog and our Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus study!
And we have made it to week 4!! Welcome to week 7, my friend.. I am excited to have you joining me today, as I share a real experience of learning about forgiveness the hard way!
Today, we will be discussing the necessity of forgiveness. Not only have we been forgiven of much, we are also commanded to forgive others. If we want God’s forgiveness, then, we need to be willing to extend the same kind of forgiveness to others.
Take a moment to bring out your journal and Bible. If you don’t have either nearby, join us anyway!
The Scriptures – Matthew 6:14-15, 18:33-35
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 (Mt. 6:14-15, NIV).
‘Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.’ ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart (Mt. 18:33-35).’
Forgiveness is an intensely deliberate act. Not one of us can claim that we have forgiven someone by happenstance, when we have been offended by another. Others have badly hurt us, yet because of the tender mercy of God – we can forgive them no matter what they have done. Others hurt us, and this is what leads us to this place of needing to forgive. Whether accidental or deliberate in their offending, we are commanded to forgive them. This is an absolute heartfelt action, which requires faith, time, effort.
Forgiveness takes time and effort. And, a whole lot of time with Jesus – our beloved Savior! Forgiveness will not “just happen,” because it takes a lot of God’s strength and our own will – to forgive others.
When I think of forgiveness, I am reminded of a specific encounter where I had to learn my “toughest” (although, this year has beat that encounter using several relationships…) lesson on forgiving others. May you be encouraged, as I share that experience.
When I think of a certain older gentleman (I served alongside him in ministry), I am filled with great joy. But, it was such a painful road of forgiveness. We were constantly bumping heads, or so it seemed. It was such an intense situation to be placed in, and I wasn’t sure how I would survive it, yet God showed both of us His grace and how God can mend a broken friendship (or thriving enemy-ship) – if we will join God and be willing to pursue reconciliation.
After forgiveness, the friendship grew to almost what I would call a mentorship. I mean, we reached a place of definite closeness in serving well together and in terms of godly leadership influence. I can vividly remember finding out that he was “let go” in his volunteering position, I was just heartbroken. Had that occurred during our frequent conflicts, I would have been glad. But, God worked so much during this difficult season. He taught me so much about trusting God, the Christian life, serving, and living with sickness. All of which was exactly what I needed at the time.
Needless to say, I can testify that God grows deeper relationships, when we allow Him to plant forgiveness in our hearts for others – which is the outflow of the way God has forgiven us.
To this day, the struggle and need to forgive still exists. As I stated, this year has been one filled with roughed up relationships (friendships with people I care for). Yet, the lesson of forgiveness remains. These situations are devastatingly hard, and can come one after another. The process doesn’t get easier with experience, but our faith in God and the good work He will do – does get stronger with each new experience. In each of these situations, it has shown me humility and to absolutely trust God (hyperventilating and all). God is molding me in these situations, to make me the person He wants me to be. He is giving me opportunities to know Him more, too.
Lord God, I pray You will teach us to forgive. We are Your beloved children who have been forgiven of much. Grow us in Your tender grace and show us how to truly forgive and love others. This is how people will know You, by the way Your forgiveness is poured out in our most difficult relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.