By His Grace: Choose love and forgiveness
"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." Jeremiah 17:10 NIV
You may wonder why I speak on the matter of the heart so often. It is a subject conveniently overlooked by those who experience wrongs, believing in the justification of why strife remains in our heart. How can you pursue happiness when forgiveness is no option?
The heart is the center of God’s love. To experience it in full, we must first possess it as well. How is it obtained? Become transparent before the lord through our confession. After all, he knows and sees all. Seek forgiveness and accept responsibility. And most importantly, forgive the offender and commit to walk in love no matter what (Romans 12).
It is a choice to remain angry and bitter, and it is a choice to love. Choose love. It is our salvation derived through our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
Allow me to share.
After much hesitation he finally got up the nerve to ask, "Can I take you out for dinner?" Up to this point, all previous suiters were declined, but not this one. To her surprise, she said yes. Immediately she began questioning herself, "Where did that answer come from."
He was not the knight with shining armor she was expecting, though he was very handsome and respectful. There was something special about this man that went beyond the physical and caught her attention. Later it was revealed this match was made in heaven.
Unbeknownst to him, 15 years before she had written a letter to God after a rocky break-up and ended the letter with a list of dos and don’ts for her future husband. As the years passed, she grew in the lord. She learned how to love as Jesus loved and forgive. Little did she know her experience in this area would be used by God in the new relationship to help him find his way.
It’s crucial that you understand you have a choice in this matter. A hardened heart is never pleasing to God and has no place in him.
How many know God has a sense of humor? Her new gentleman was everything on her list and some that were not (and they were all good). Later they both came to learn the lord truly brought them together.
"Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." Mark 10:9 NKJV
It was revealed early on in their relationship there were issues with forgiveness toward those close to him due to past emotional scars that never healed. For years, he silently struggled within. But he always tried to be obedient to the father: "But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
To know him, you came to learn he had a big heart. Nothing was too much for him. He wore his smile even during difficult times and was always accessible to give a helping hand.
Over the years, and through prayer and personal example of forgiveness in his own relationship, his relationship with those he struggled to forgive changed. Family members and friends began to take notice. His joy increased day by day.
He was asked to be the guest speaker at a friend’s church, not knowing it would be his last. And he requested that she be in attendance. His message to the congregation that Sunday morning was on the matter of the heart. She was surprised. She had heard him teach before, but this time it was different. It came from the heart and was very personal. Those who knew him also knew he was a private man. The Holy Spirit's presence was strongly felt as tears trickled down her face. Her heart swelled with love. She knew what it took to get here -- total and absolute forgiveness from the heart.
Two months later, he transitioned into heaven and into the arms of Jesus who welcomed him home.
Praise the lord.
If you are unsure whether you’re standing with Christ Jesus and are ready to establish a relationship with the son of God, allow me to extend an invitation to experience his wonderful love and all that it brings with it.
Please repeat this prayer: "Lord Jesus, forgive my sins I committed against you. I believe Jesus died for my sins and has risen again. Please come into my life and heart and lead the way. I confess you as my lord and savior from this day forward. In Jesus’ name, amen."
Welcome into the family of Christ.
Until next week, be blessed and continue to bless others along the way. Shalom.
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at email@example.com.