Thursday, May 16, 2013

Forgiveness


Recently I have been hurt by a friend and have struggled in my heart to forgive her.

Can you relate?

Have you been treated unjustly or unkindly by someone (friend or not) and have found it very hard to forgive them?

Maybe it is hard for you to forgive your children when they repeatedly disobey or hurt you?


Forgiveness can be downright daunting.  
It is NOT easy. 

Jesus, when asked by Peter, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven?"... answered,

"I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." 
 
He then tells Peter the parable of the Unmerciful Servant who was mercifully forgiven a HUGE debt that he owed but refused to show that same mercy to a man who owed him a LITTLE debt.   (Matthew 18:21-35)
 
The repercussions for his unwillingness to forgive as he had been forgiven were that he was to be thrown in jail and tortured until he payed back all that he owed.

Jesus concludes to Peter saying,

"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Of all the commands given us in Scripture, THIS one can often be the most difficult.

We can easily forget or even take for granted that our massive debt (of sin) has been forgiven by God through Christ. 

And neglecting to remember God's merciful forgiveness in our own lives blinds our hearts to the need to forgive those who hurt us.

For me, I make excuses. 
I cannot forgive someone until...

They change their behavior.
They apologize, admit their wrong.
They legitimize my hurt.
They have suffered for the wrong done to me.

But Jesus made no excuses when He died on the cross for me and for you and for our children. 

There is no debt of sin too massive He is unwilling to forgive. 

There is nothing, besides humble confession and repentance, that WE must do to earn His forgiveness. 

It is His free gift of grace and WE are expected to show mercy to others by forgiving them JUST as Jesus has forgiven us.

 
If I harbor unforgiveness in my heart toward this friend who has hurt me, it will only fuel anger and bitterness.  It is time for me to mercifully forgive my "brother," even if I have to seventy-seven times.

So, I will come to the throne of grace and ask for the strength to forgive. 

For Jesus wrote the book on forgiveness and He can erase every excuse in my heart and show me how to forgive.  I will trust Him with this.

Our children need to see us forgive others over and over again.

Our children need to study the stories of forgiveness in the Bible.

Our children need to remember how Jesus forgives their debt of sin.

And our children need to trust that Jesus will show them how, when, and why they MUST forgive others.

Join me in prayer today

Jesus, I pray that my children would confess and repent of their sins to You and that they would trust in your uninhibited forgiving heart.  I pray they would remember Your merciful forgiveness and, in turn, forgive others...even up to seventy-seven times.  And I pray that when it is very difficult to forgive that You would show them How, When, and Why they must.  I pray they would trust their hearts to You and that this command of yours to forgive would not seem like such a difficult and daunting task.

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