May 26 I Tuesday
1 Chronicles 28-29
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
When Jesus hung on the cross, one of the most unforgettable utterances that came from Him were these words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). In His moment of anguish, Jesus was thinking of forgiveness.
It was not just the sins of Jesus’s perpetrators that brought Him to the cross, but it was all our sins. And just as our heavenly Father forgives us, we are to forgive others. To be unforgiving is to have little understanding of what the gravity of our sin does to God, and little understanding of the enormity of His mercy and grace, as shown in the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. If we have a problem in forgiving others, then there is a problem in truly grasping the significance of Christ having forgiven us. Whether we are undecided or our hearts are cast in stone, forgiveness of others is essential if we are going to live in a right relationship with God.
There are many people, however, who have been so gravely wronged that forgiveness seems impossible to them, but that is where the grace of God comes in. God is never outwitted, and our deepest wounds and despair are often what He uses to strengthen us. Forgiveness is not meant to be a case of “I’m supposed to forgive, so presto… the person is forgiven.” There are all kinds of emotions, fears, anguish and hurt, which need time to come to terms with. Forgiveness cannot be rushed, nor enforced. It has to become a process, which naturally brings us to the point where our hearts are willing to forgive. Though we usually see it in retrospect, there is something about the perspective of time that brings our priorities in place.
For our own spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health, we need to forgive, otherwise we risk giving fertile ground for the seeds of anger and bitterness to take root and grow, which inevitably seeps into other areas of our lives. Holding back forgiveness grieves the Holy Spirit, and could become a blockage that prevents the working of God to be real and fresh in our lives every day.
In the same way God forgives us, we need to forgive from the heart with compassion and kindness. When God forgives, He forgives all our sins, not just the three from yesterday and the one this morning. We also can forgive like God does, because inherent in the indwelling Spirit of Christ is the capacity to forgive. Though it may take time, may we not miss the Grace of God in our will to forgive.
Prayer: Dear Precious Lord, You have set the greatest example of all in forgiveness. May the depth of Your love, compassion and grace take root in my heart.
Thank You, Lord.