Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- August 12, 2010
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30-32
Fullness of the Holy Spirit is facilitated by forgiveness, but unforgiveness grieves the Spirit of God. Resentment harbored in a child of God’s heart resists the work of the Spirit. If however—forgiveness is fluid and forthcoming—the heart is free to be transformed by the Holy Spirit’s influence. Forgiveness positions believers to be blessed.
God grieves when His children cannot get along—encumbered and sometimes estranged by chronic unforgiveness. The Lord longs for the righteous to be reconciled, for He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. How can we call unbelievers to be reconciled, when we are unable to be reconciled? Indeed, Spirit-filled followers of Jesus forgive.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
Who, by their unjust deeds, has imprisoned your heart in unforgiveness? Who are you unable to forgive? An absent parent, a prodigal child, an unethical partner, an evil boss, an insensitive sibling, an imperfect Pastor, an unfaithful friend or an abusive individual? Perhaps you are waiting for them to change before you plan to forgive them.
But objects of unforgiveness can be oblivious to their hurt. You may be waiting for someone to repent who is unaware of their hurtful actions or they may be incapable of change. Why not forgive them as God, for Christ sake, has forgiven you, and trust Him to change them? Release yourself from being responsible to do what only the Lord can do.
Once you forgive, then you are positioned to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. No longer is He grieved by your unforgiveness, but He empowers your forgiveness. The fruit of the Spirit flourishes in the fertile soil of forgiveness. Your act of unconditional forgiveness may be the very illustration of grace that God uses to draw your offender to Himself. So by faith, forgive and trust the Holy Spirit to empower you and the forgiven.
“I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly” (Genesis 50:17).
Am I grieving the Holy Spirit by my unforgiveness? Who by God’s grace do I need to forgive?
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