Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Our Verse of the Day continues to address the subject of interpersonal relationships; and the issue of forgiveness is a prominent target….
If you think about it, forgiveness is one of the most important ways that we express and demonstrate love in our relationships. Indeed, forgiveness is the most fundamental way that God demonstrated His personal love for us. Romans 5:8 affirms that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And the Apostle John declared:
1 John 4:9-11 (NIV)
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
It is evident that God’s expression of love is inseparable from His act of forgiveness of our sins; and I believe we would do well to keep that principal in mind.
Colossians 3:1-14 (NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive … someone with whom you need to be reconciled? Think deeply about that question for a moment because the depth of our need for reconciliation and healing can extend far into our pasts … even to the moment of our births. Past physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds, if not forgiven and released, WILL develop into roots of bitterness that can lead to anger, rage, and other behaviors that can constrict or inhibit the healing we so desperately need. Unforgiveness will lead our own hearts into sin because we have in essence rejected the command of Jesus to love as we have been loved.
When we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, it will lead to inward thoughts that precipitate behaviors which manifest themselves as addictions and all kinds of self-harm. Roots of bitterness and unforgiveness can ultimately manifest themselves in physiological and neurological disorders. If feelings of stress can debilitate a person’s body, it should come as no surprise that feelings of bitterness and anger can do the same. Our emotions are embedded in our bodies and souls. They are the expressions of our inner beings. So, we simply cannot underestimate the immeasurable toxic effects of unforgiveness on our bodies, spirits, or souls.
Father God wants us all to experience healing and deliverance in our lives … to receive the fullness of joy and peace in our lives … to be healthy and whole in our spirits, souls, and bodies. I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul prayed in intercession: “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) So, this is my prayer for us, that the God of peace … the God of reconciliation … the God of all comfort … the Father of Compassion … would instill in each of our hearts the transformative power of forgiveness! If we do not walk in forgiveness … we do not walk in love.
My friends, I am convinced that forgiveness is integral to the process of healing! It is the path that will lead to peace with others and within ourselves! And, again, let me remind you that forgiveness does not condone, excuse, or undo the sin or harm that was done; rather, it means we release the debt that person owes to us for the trespass committed. Just as the Lord Jesus paid our debt through the cross for our sins and released (redeemed) us from the penalty (death) required for our offenses; we are commanded to do the same in our relationships with one another. This is what is means to be forgiven … to be set free! Therefore, I encourage you to release those who have sinned against you. Set them free from their debt to you. For in doing so, you will set your own body, spirit, and soul free at the same time! I cannot explain how this happens; I just know that it does. Healing is the supernatural power of God, and we can experience it in our lives if we would obey His command: “Forgive, just as in the Lord Jesus, God forgave you!”
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8