April 06, 2013

Compassion and Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:25-32

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
—Ephesians 4:32


Jesus had compassion on people, often seeing them as sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). He taught his followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them (Matthew 5:44). He even gave up his own life so that we, who had sinned against God and were his enemies, could be forgiven (Romans 5:8-11).

Likewise, God calls us to have compassion and to forgive. If we start from a place of compassion, where we have empathy for our brother or sister, we will see better how the world looks from where they are standing. If we can sense what it’s like to have their struggles and their pain, that will guide us toward forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean pretending someone hasn’t hurt us. Sometimes the hurts we experience are extreme and devastating, and we can carry scars throughout life.

But if we hold on to anger, it will wear us out and lead us to hurt others. Forgiveness sets us free from anger and bitterness, allowing us to let go of our desire for vengeance. The relationship may never be restored, but we can begin to see those who hurt us as God sees them—broken people in need of grace.

Can you forgive others and trust that God will provide justice? Is there someone who needs your compassion and forgiveness?

Lord, teach us to forgive, as you have forgiven us. Help us to have compassion for one another and to let go of any anger we might have. Heal us all for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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