March 4, 2022

The Fruit of Love is Forgiveness

Written by Boyd Bailey

The fruit of abiding love is authentic forgiveness.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 4, 2022

Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. 1 Corinthians 13:5, TLB

Since the cross of Christ boldly proclaims the love and forgiveness of God, it’s ironic to me that followers of Jesus could utter a phrase like, “I can never forgive him or I may not get mad, but I’ll get even”. Really? Are we not called and empowered with the same love and forgiveness that was generously extended to us when we placed our trust in the Lord? Though I will confess it took me years to fully forgive my absent dad. The layers of anger, resentment and bitterness took time for God’s grace, love and forgiveness working in me for me to freely extend the same to my dad. Because of my heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness for me, I was eventually able to love and totally forgive my earthly father. The fruit of abiding love is authentic forgiveness.

Jesus tells the story of a man who is forgiven an overwhelming financial debt. But this same person who had been shown buckets of mercy refuses to extend the same forgiveness to his servant who owes him a much smaller amount. The unmerciful one even goes to the extreme measure to place his servant in debtor prison, while his family suffers in his absence and where he is physically unable to earn wages to pay down his debt. Jesus goes on to describe the unmerciful man as the one who is tortured because of his unforgiveness. The torture of anger, resentment and bitterness are all fruits of unforgiveness, while love’s healing fruit is forgiveness. 

“Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” (Matthew 18:33-35, NLT).

Henri Nouwen, beautifully describes the connection of our being loved to our ability to forgive: 

“You have to keep saying to yourself: “I am being loved by an unconditional, unlimited love and that love allows me to be a free person, center of my own actions and decisions.” The more you can come to realize this, the more you will be able to forgive those who have hurt you and love them in their brokenness. Without a deep feeling of self-respect, you cannot forgive and will always feel anger, resentment, and revenge. The greatest human act is forgiveness: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” Forgiveness stands in the center of God’s love for us and also in the center of our love for each other. Loving one another means forgiving one another over and over again.”

I like how Nouwen leans into the idea that “love allows me to be a free person”, and he goes on to connect my capacity to forgive with love, “the more you come to realize this, the more you will be able to forgive”. For God so loved He gave—and forgave. Yes! You are capable to love as the Lord has loved you, and you are commanded to love as the Lord has loved you. As Jesus patiently explained to Peter (who was looking for a forgiveness quota), love forgives until in heaven you see the face of love—Jesus. Love has no grudges, is hard to offend and forgives! 

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 (Matthew 6:14-15).


Heavenly Father, help me to love and forgive as you love and forgive me, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Who in my life requires extra love and forgiveness?

Related Reading

Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12-13; 1 Peter 3:8; James 2:13

Worship Resource

We the Kingdom & Tasha Cobbs Leonard: Holy Water


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