August 21, 2023
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).
The greatest representation of Christ we can offer as His ambassadors on Earth is forgiveness, just as He has forgiven us.
It’s not always easy, but it is always necessary. Denying ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Jesus is not an easy task. The cross symbolizes death, the crucifixion of our flesh. What does that mean? It means we prioritize His word above all else in order to follow Jesus.
Recently, my friend David Manning spoke at our Iron Men’s breakfast. In sharing his testimony, he talked about some difficulties he had faced as a child. Afterward, David called me and asked, “Hey man, I didn’t dishonor my Mom and Dad, did I? I love them a lot and I don’t want to dishonor them or dishonor God when sharing my story!”
I’m sure David will tell you that reaching a place of forgiveness was a process, but also incredibly rewarding. Forgiveness brings freedom and healing. Forgiveness is Christ.
Jesus Himself said that if we can’t forgive others, our Father in heaven cannot forgive us. Choosing to hold onto unforgiveness puts us in a dangerous and damning position. Forgiveness is reciprocated, not by those we forgive, but by God the Father Himself. That’s why unforgiveness becomes a prison for ourselves.
This prison isolates us from God’s blessings, including His grace and mercy. When we choose to withhold forgiveness to punish others for the pain they’ve caused us, we only end up destroying ourselves. I know this because I’ve been there myself.
Fortunately, we haven’t been left without help. I love the power of the Holy Spirit and the transformative words of truth from the Lord that enable us to do and live in a way that surpasses our own strength. Yes, that’s right! God empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own.
Think about it this way: Was the hurt caused to you greater than the suffering of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? He forgave us all. To share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering and be obedient, even unto death. Christ set us free for the purpose of freedom!
“For freedom, Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
For us, as followers of Christ, to not forgive is to be enslaved. Our freedom lies in our obedience to His word. He grants us the grace to do what He commands, not to ignore His commands. Grace is not a license to sin but a means to obey.
I hope this message helps someone because I couldn’t stop writing down my thoughts this morning! I wish you all a wonderful and blessed day!