Three times in the past week I have had a discussion about forgiveness. I know that God wanted to work out forgiveness in my life again. I am always finding myself amazed how He sees right through me into my very darkest hidden areas of my heart. I am reminded by Him that I must learn what it means to be in the “The State of Forgiveness”.
What does that mean, "State of Forgiveness"? To be honest, I have been trying to figure this out for almost two years now. I was sharing on Tuesday with some ladies from my church how God wants us to forgive. We discussed that at times forgiveness comes easy like when my girls do something wrong. I have no trouble forgiving them, my love is too deep for them to not to. Hum....that statement alone gets me thinking about Gods love for me. Then the situation in which a person offends you once....harder to forgive but doable. How about the non-Christian....that sometimes is easier because you understand that they are apart from God. Then I shared with them my struggle....the "Christian" who repeatedly offends day after day...month after month. What then? How can I walk in forgiveness? How do I not become bitter and angry? This is where the "State of Forgiveness" comes in.
I always look to God as my example to show me how to be. God has asked us to be like Him so where else should we look?!
God is Forgiving
Psalms 86 (New International Version)
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Thanks Lord that you are forgiving. I love the word "abounding" here. I think it gives a wonderful word picture of how much love He has for us ALL. I have a great understanding how much God forgives and how much He forgave me. He sent His son for me so that my sins would be forgiven when I accept Him as my Lord. For some reason I get that... but struggle with why I think I am better than God that I can not forgive. Ouch! Matthew 18:21-35 "The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant" seems to speak right to that.
I Need To Forgive For My Own Sake
Matthew 6:14 (New International Version)
14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
Oh yes, this point is purely selfish...I want to be forgiven. LOL Plain and simple, here is a command...you want to be forgiven then you better forgive. Ugh, why is this so hard? Why would I rather live in my self pity and be the victim? Why does my sinful nature always seem to be so strong? Why do I need to have people feel sorry for me? Could it really come down to pride? Could all these questions be actually leading me to the answer? I think they do! I need Christ. I need Him to be my all in all. I need Him alone! I need to Him to clean out every part of me that is not His. I need to give Him every part of me. That means I need to walk in obedience. I have to forgive it is my duty to HIM! It is the least I can do for what He has done for me.
I Need to be Obedient!
Ephesians 4 then sums up everything very nicely...He is talking to the church in Ephesus....Brothers and Sister in the Lord....see where I am going with this? Our Christian friends!
Ephesians 4:20-32 (New International Version)
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin"[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Here again to the church of Colosse...
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Forgiveness for a Christian that has offended you is hard because we all think they should know better. But we are not responsible for their actions we are only responsible for ours. The "State of Forgiveness" is a choice! It is a choice to be in an attitude of forgiveness every day for any offense. It is a choice to serve God, to love Him through our actions. I may not "feel" forgiveness in my heart but I will choose to forgive and I believe I will over time begin to "feel" forgiveness for my brother or sister in Christ! Does it mean it will not hurt? No, unfortunatly not but that is when we allow God be who God is. He will heal our broken hearts and He will be all we need.
Walk in the "State of Forgiveness" and today...