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The Power of Forgiveness

September 6, 2011

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:43-45

Forgiveness is hard.  It flies in the face of every inclination of my heart. My will opposes it.  My heart demands justice,  a reckoning, and payment for the wrong.  But, God says forgive.  He says to love those who have cut me deepest.  To love them.  Why?  Why would God ask such a difficult thing of us?  Why does God call us to forgive others who have DEEPLY hurt us?  Here are the reasons that come to my mind:

  1. It is a continual reminder of how much He has forgiven me of, and what I truly deserve.  It preaches the gospel to me every time I must choose to forgive.
  2. Grudges only hurt me, not the person who wronged me.  God wants to set me free from the weight of resentment.  When I refuse to forgive I am carrying the weight of that person’s sin on my shoulders.  God has already carried the weight of it to the cross at Calvary.
  3. Because forgiveness shows how great God is.  Only God could give someone the power to forgive (when they only deserve hate).  It is a testimony that reflects God’s glory and the world can only stand back with open mouths and wonder, “How?!”
  4. Becasue forgiveness is a mini picture of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.  It is a very powerful way we can tangibly demonstrate what God does for us through Jesus’ death on the cross.  There is no more powerful way that this can be demonstrated than by a child of God forgiving deep hurt, just as Christ did when He looked down from the cross and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

The video below is a story from CBS about a beautiful sister in Christ who has chosen to forgive the man who murdered her child.  It is a powerful story and testimony of how the power to forgive is truly God’s alone.  The choice to forgive is ours to make but the power to forgive comes only from God.

 

Who have you not forgiven?  Aren’t you glad that Jesus forgives you?

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