Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- September 22, 2010
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:35
As a follower of Jesus—I know in my head I am to perpetually forgive—but this truth does not always migrate to my heart. It’s a struggle to be patient with, much less pardon a person who is reckless with their words and angry in their attitude. My heart felt forgiveness does not catch up with my head knowledge until I truly take to heart the depth and breadth of God’s forgiveness. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Christ’s clemency on the cross for mankind is unconditional for all who believe. “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43b). The reminder that we are sinners saved by grace grows humility and dismisses pride. Indeed, a pride-less person is able to offer perpetual forgiveness to their offender.
However, anyone who behaves like they are un-forgiven (by their unmerciful actions) will be treated by their heavenly father as if they were un-forgiven. A more severe judgment awaits any follower of Christ who withholds the grace and forgiveness they have received from God. True forgiveness offers a permanent pardon, not a temporary reprieve.
Have you been treated unjustly and accused unfairly? Has someone you really respected let you down? Has a friend gossiped about you or has a church member lied to you? If you stay stuck in self-pity and anger you will miss an opportunity to model mercy, grace and forgiveness. Jesus says it’s easy to love those who love us, even the world does this:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that” (Luke 6:31-33). Thus, heart-felt forgiveness goes the extra mile to extend grace to the undeserving.
Therefore, by God’s grace, grant bold forgiveness to bad deeds against you and your family. Let go of the emotional debt another owes you but who can never repay you. Heart-felt forgiveness opens the doors of pride’s prison and releases the offender and the one offended. Extend Jesus’ gift of perpetual forgiveness and enjoy its freedom forever.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
Is my forgiveness of others heart-felt and Christ centered?
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