Read Colossians 3:13.
I am most unsettled when other people disappoint me, hurt me, or mislead me. These situations are the ones that I lose sleep over. I play what happened over and over in my head hoping to find a peace that will lead to a good night’s sleep. I expect that replaying the event will give a clarity that will allow me to move on. The problem is that this only works for a while. My way of coping with being sinned against always leads me to become hardened and bitter towards that person. This cycle happens with even more fierce emotions when I feel wronged from someone within the church.
In the scripture above, we are called to forgive others. It reasons that we must forgive “as the Lord has forgiven you.” There is no exception to this statement. Every time, no matter what happens, I must forgive as Jesus has forgiven me. The key to forgiveness is not mustering up courage or willing myself to be a ‘good’ Christian. The key is understanding what Jesus has done for you.
I deserved death and the wrath of God. I deserved damnation. I deserved to pay for every sin I have and will commit. BUT, Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and made me right with God. Jesus forgave me. Through Jesus, I am radically enabled to forgive others. No other people in all time can look into the face of sin and forgive. What God has done vertically in our relationship with Him, He enables us to do horizontally to every person we will ever encounter.
In order to be a city on a hill that advances the gospel, we must first choose to forgive those within our families and church family. From there, we must generously forgive our neighbors, nation, and world. Pray today for the Lord to reveal where you are hardened and bitter towards someone. Forgive them.
By Brad Kinney