By His Grace: Forgiveness is love in action
Long ago, I came to the realization that part of my calling is to minister in forgiveness. This subject at times may become uncomfortable to address, for it requires accountability on behalf of all involved.
In recent conversations with others, though the call was seemingly meant for one thing, eventually it was steered to the true heart of the matter, forgiveness. I knew by the Holy Spirit this was not by coincidence but of divine appointment. How so? Where the Lord is concerned, the matter of the heart is of upmost importance. Forgiveness is another form of love in which as a follower of Christ, we are called to walk in.
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
The lesson of forgiveness toward others, even for oneself, can have its challenge. Especially when the offense never had a chance to properly be addressed and healing to begin. What do I mean? When a person encounters a hurt (emotionally, mentally or physically) through the action of another, we seek either an apology or explanation for the wrong committed. What happens when neither is forth coming and the accuse denies any wrongdoing?
The closure sought through an apology not given, if not careful, can lead to hidden unforgiveness. During a recent conversation was the question was asked, “Do you forgive the person who you believed wronged you?” The reply, “I forgive the person because they must stand before God to be judged. And His word said, ‘Vengeance is mine.’” In all due respect, the reply is not a true form of forgiveness.
I can recall an offense once where I struggled in unforgiveness. My lips confessed I forgave. But as time went on, it was revealed to me I did not. How so? Whenever the accuser and I had words, I would recall the original offense to justify my reaction. I could not understand why I had to always be the bigger person when I did nothing wrong. That is until I was led to this passage. “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
The Holy Spirit then instructed me to read daily Romans 12, otherwise known as the love walk chapter. As I meditated on the Word for nearly a year, I received continuous revelation on how to walk in forgiveness and in love. I came to realize the act of forgiveness was not for the accuser but more so for me. I became free of all emotional bondage that comes with unforgiveness, and the love of Christ had room to operate within me. And just as forgiveness is a form of love, unforgiveness is another form of hate.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
As I continued speaking with my caller, I began to share a few steps that would be helpful in forgiveness. Pray for those who have hurt you and ask the Lord to forgive them. Meditate on the word of God that pertains to forgiving others. This will assist in your love walk and to release the offense from within your heart. And then finally, cast your cares unto the Lord and move on with life.
You may say that is easier said than done, for you do not know what was said about me or done toward me. And you are correct, I do not. What I do know is you have a choice in this matter to forgive or not. A harden heart of unforgiveness is never pleasing to God and has no place in Him.
“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Then there is self-forgiveness, which is challenging for some. There are many today who are still holding on to what I call sin guilt from 10, 20 and even 30 years past. What is sin guilt? It's the inability to accept and receive forgiveness from the Lord. The enemy loves to reminds us of past transgression. It is time to cease listening to the enemy's lies that there is no hope for forgiveness. When you and I sincerely seek the Lord in repentance, He is faithful to forgive. His grace and mercy toward you and me are endless.
"Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]."
Yesterday has passed, and tomorrow is not promised, so enjoy this life as God intended, free from guilt and shame. Receive the love of Christ through His forgiveness and learn to love yourself as He loves you. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
There may be someone who has never experienced a relationship with the Lord and wonders, how does one obtain this gift of love that is promised?
By your own free will, you accept Christ as Lord and Savior. This will be the most important declaration you will make. Do not allow this moment to pass; tomorrow is not promised.
When you declare with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, it is written you will be saved. This has nothing to do with religion and all to do with a relationship. For it is written, "It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
Please repeat this prayer: "Lord, Jesus, forgive me of 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.
Be blessed as you continue to bless others along the way. Shalom, go in peace.
Bible references: Proverbs 17:9 NLT (Ruth 1:6); Matthew 18:21-22 ESV (Luke 17:4); Romans 12; 1 John 4:20; Mathew 6:15; Romans 8:1 AMP; Psalm 103:11-12 CSB; Romans 10:9-10 NIV. To obtain the full benefits of each verse, please read the five verses before and after each verse. Cross references in parentheses.
Edith Nevis can be reached at 857-2200 or at email@example.com.