” Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” – Colossians 3:12-13
We have all made mistakes in our lives, sinned against God and even others at times. Each time we do, it takes humility to go to God and admit our wrongs. Once we do, the heavy load we once carried becomes light as a feather as we accept the Lord’s forgiveness. Each time I personally turn to God, repent and receive His forgiveness, my heart grows to love the Lord a little deeper as I recognize that I do not deserve His forgiveness yet in His grace and perfect character, He washes all traces of my sin from me and welcomes me in His arms as a father does a child.
As liberating and wonderful that experience with God may be, I must admit that I have not always been as swift to forgive others when they sin against me and inevitably hurt me. The truth is, I have had my shares of moments when I rejected God’s invitation to forgive someone. With time, I discovered that it requires a lot more energy not to forgive someone than it does to forgive. Unforgiveness, as it turns out, keeps one in bondage and under the weight of a heavy load.
Today’s key scripture reminds us of a truth we still need. Forgiveness is not an option; it’s a must. Since Jesus has forgiven us for all our transgressions, we too must forgive others. There’s not a sin the Lord could not wash away and not a crimson stain has not been made white as snow. At Calvary, all our sins were nailed to the cross and the evidence remains today in the hands, feet, and side of the Savior. As a result of the extravagant grace we have received, God expects us to allow that same grace to overflow from us to others by offering those who have wronged us the gift of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not a gift we can offer to others easily. We need grace for that! Yes, we need grace to forgive because there’s a war within us: the flesh and the Spirit.
The flesh says “if I forgive them, they might do it again” while the Spirit says “forgive seventy times seven”. The flesh screams “but they hurt me” while the Spirit says “think on what is pure and honorable”. The flesh says “let’s see how quickly they’ll do it again” but the Spirit says “don’t remind them of the offense. Bury it, let go of it and offer them one more chance”.
The flesh says “let’s consider all the times they’ve done me wrong” yet the Spirit says “Jesus paid it all, even paid for that too”.
We often think forgiveness is a one-time thing but the truth is that pain runs deep. As such, each time the hurt comes to remind us of a past offense, we need God’s help all over again to forgive and let go. So truly, we need grace for that. At the end of the day, forgiveness puts the love of God on display.
Forgiveness is the gift that must keep on giving: giving second chances even when this second chance is actually number 100. When we talk about forgiveness, many confuse it with trust. Forgiveness does not mean that trust is intact. While forgiveness should be instantaneous, trust may take time to be rebuilt.
Is there anyone that you need to forgive and release to God? Ask Him and if He should bring someone to mind, confess your true feelings about this person to God and ask for the grace to forgive.
Search me O God and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. If there is any unforgiveness that I still hold against anyone, bring them to mind. Give me the grace I need to forgive that person because I know this is your perfect will. Just as you have forgiven me through your Son Jesus, help me to forgive and not hold any grievance against another. I release this person into your hands and pray that you lavish your most wonderful blessings on them.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Matthew 6: 12-15