“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.”
“I can’t forgive,” Danielle declared, wiping her eyes. She had caught her husband embracing her best friend. “I’m so angry; I’m hurt; I’m disappointed!”
When our trust is torn and our security is shattered by others’ sins, forgiveness is very difficult. But God’s Word calls us to forgive, in his strength. We need to know that our forgiveness of others is linked to God’s forgiveness of us. If we refuse to forgive, we show that we do not really accept God’s forgiveness. If we do forgive, we show that we have accepted God’s forgiveness with sincere gratitude.
The result is to release a person from being punished for their wrongs against us. This doesn’t mean there are no consequences for crimes or that we let ruthless people walk all over us. But in God’s strength, we can choose to forgive—even many times (see Luke 17:4). How many times have you asked God for forgiveness for the same sin? How do you think he feels about it?
Jesus was denied and betrayed by his followers, railroaded by the religious leaders, beaten and crucified unjustly by the Romans, and jeered by the crowds as he hung in agony (Luke 23). Yet he died so that we could be forgiven and have new life forever with God.
He calls us to follow his example of life-giving forgiveness.
Jesus, my suffering Savior, I am hurting inside for what other people have done to me. I need to imitate your forgiveness. Set me free from my bad feelings and enable me to release them. Amen.
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