Key Verses: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
There is not one person reading this devotion who has never been hurt by someone else and likewise, as caused pain to another. Forgiving others is often difficult. The wounds of hurt go deep into our lives. The pain may be recent or go back years, but in Christ, we have the power to forgive. Moreover, if you’re a believer, seeking and giving forgiveness are not options, but commandments (see Matthew 6:15 & Mark 11:25).
Jesus demonstrated true forgiveness. He was wrongly accused, ridiculed, rejected, whipped, spat upon, and crucified. Nevertheless, as He hung in agony upon the cross for our sins, He prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (see Luke 22:34).
The Bible teach not only that God grant us forgiveness, but that he calls us to forgive. Ephesians 4:32, says “forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” On a similar note, we often pray the words that Jesus taught his followers to pray in Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” In other words,”Forgive me as I have forgiven.”
It is only by understanding our own sin, and God’s gracious forgiveness to us, that we can forgive others. Jesus told the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35, to help us put a perspective on forgiveness. God has forgiven us so much, yet we refuse to forgive so little.
Forgiveness is possible. King Saul attempted to kill King David time after time. David did not only spare Saul’s life on many occasions, but after Saul died, he asks in 2 Samuel 9:1, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Joseph is another example. His brothers intended to leave him for dead before selling him as a slave, but God granted Joseph the power to forgive and a perspective that even in their wrong action, God planned it for good and to save many lives. (See Genesis 50).
Unforgiveness holds us in slavery and disobedience. It traps us in our spiritual walk. Forgiveness releases us to experience grace in the way God intended and allows us to demonstrate His grace toward those who have wronged us.