A Lesson in Forgiveness

 

Oh how merciful our God is.  He knows my frame and my weakness.  In the past…I’ve struggled with the issue of forgiveness.  Over the years…and by God’s grace…I’ve learned that it’s important that I forgive completely and quickly.  That my failure to do so will only cause harm. Unforgiveness is disobedience.  
 
An unforgiven hurt is a useful tool in the hands of the enemy.  He can grow that weed abundantly…and it will choke out the good fruit.  So why would I want to cooperate with the enemy…the one who hates my soul and works against the Kingdom of God and His people?  
 
During my drive time last week, I was listening to a Beth Moore study in which she talked about forgiveness.  One point that struck me is that I need to bring my hurts to God and let Him bind up my wound.  I’m not sure that I fully understand what all that means.  Perhaps it means to trust Him to bring healing to my hurting heart; to trust Him in whatever He does.
 
I know when I have sinned the Holy Spirit does business with me.  He convicts me and doesn’t let me get away with sin.  Why would I presume that He would do anything less with others?  Trusting God enables me to pray that He will be merciful towards another who has wronged me…knowing that God will give them exactly what they need: compassion, comfort, conviction or discipline.  He alone knows their heart and motives…not me.
 
One of my favorite studies on forgiveness is by Charles Stanley.  One of the most convicting points that he makes is how can I continue hold something against someone, when God has forgiven them.  Jesus Christ paid the penalty for their sins…all of them…on the cross.  How can I hold a charge against God’s elect?  The obvious answer is…I can’t.
 
That point was made crystal clear to me yesterday during communion, while remembering Christ’s death on the cross:  how His body was broken and His blood was shed to cover my sins.  His blood not only covered my sin…but took them clean away.  Not only my sin…but all who believe in His atoning work on the cross.  His blood not only took away my sin…but also the one who sins against me.  His blood has washed all our sins away.  Dare I hold onto a charge against another?  
 
When I thought about that…visualizing Jesus’ death on the cross…can I imagine going up to the cross and nailing to the cross a charge of sin against someone?  Knowing that it’s Jesus who died and suffered for sin and that He paid the penalty in full?  His blood still flows free and takes our sin away.  
 
When sinned against I can give thanks.  Thanks to God for exposing something ugly within me that needs to be dealt with.  Or perhaps, see that I’m growing in obedience and trusting Jesus by quickly forgiving.  It can also serve as a reminder to be praying the person who causes an offence.  
 
Oh how sweet freedom is.  Freedom to forgive.  Freedom to go on and not be locked in the past.  Be free to live each day…fresh and clean.  
 
There is no way I could do that on my own; it’s only through the work of Jesus Christ in me.  What the enemy intends for evil…God intends for good.  Praise His Holy Name!
 

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