Last night I spoke at my home church for our Lenten Wednesday night worship service about forgiveness.
Me? Forgiving? Sometimes. Sigh.
I told a story about a situation that is completely out of my control and how mercy and forgiveness keeps me at peace and how all hell breaks loose (excuse the phrase, but it’s too apropos) when I slip into an attitude of hurt, anger and revenge for the person who is against me.
(Just so you know…it’s easier to wallow in self-pity and fantasize about the demise of our offenders.)
However, I have often wondered what Jesus would do if he was in a similar situation and I have to tell you, it’s much different than what our world expects and demands of us.
So, what do we do when evil is staring at us between the eyes?
- Be kind to the offender anyway. “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Proverbs 11:17.
- Do good to the offender anyway. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35.
- Keep forgiving anyway. “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 times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
The world tells us that life isn’t fair. It screams for us to take the money and run. And it encourages us to withhold forgiveness from terrible people and harbor bitterness and anger because we don’t deserve what we are getting!!
Does that sound about right?
Well, who’s money is it anyway? Who are these terrible people? And do we really deserve anything?
In my opinion, the money and stuff are all God’s in the first place; the terrible people are ALL of us; and we deserve much worse.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15
It’s much easier to spew hate when we are hurt, but it’s much more Godly to spread love in the midst of our trials. (Again, easier said than done…are you seeing a pattern?)
I guess I just keep reminding myself that I need all the forgiveness I can get because I sin against God way too often. So, just maybe I should get off my high horse and be more willing to forgive the others around me.
The truth is that we can’t do anything without God’s HELP!!!!
In fact, the only way we can be merciful to others is to ask God to soften our hearts, change our attitudes and give us His mercy for others. Love it!!
SOOOO…I hope you can find forgiveness in your heart today. Not only does it please God, but it relinquishes all bitterness and is replaced by the peace of God which is truly beyond all human understanding!
God forgives and forgets, so should we!
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.