October 23 I Tuesday
1 Timothy 3
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
When it comes to forgiveness, no two circumstances are the same and everyone is different. Yet, regardless of how slight or severe the sin against us, forgiveness is not a case of, “I’m supposed to forgive,” and presto...the person is forgiven. There are emotions, fears, anguish and hurt that need time for us to come to terms with.
Forgiveness from the heart cannot be rushed nor enforced. It has to become a process that naturally brings us to the point where our hearts are willing to forgive. There are many people who have been so gravely wronged that forgiveness seems impossible to them, but this 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. Though we usually see it in retrospect, there is something about the perspective of time that puts our priorities in place.
When bitterness prevails, the best antidote is to remember God’s grace towards us. We need to forgive the way God forgave us, from our hearts and with compassion, mercy and kindness. In Jeremiah 33:8, speaking of the nation of Judah, God says, “I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.” When God forgives, He forgives not just the three sins from yesterday and the one this morning, but all our sins.
David says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12), and Hebrews 8:12 says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Our forgiveness of others should be like God’s forgiveness, removing all their sins and remembering them no more, which means we do not harbour thoughts of mischief, revenge or gloating. Jesus said, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you” (Luke 6:28). In praying for someone who has hurt us, we open a door for the grace of God to come through both for our offender and ourselves.
Stories of spiritual revival always include people getting right with each other, and if we are to be right with God, our forgiveness of others has to take place. Inherent in the indwelling Spirit of Christ is the capacity to forgive. If this is a struggle, we need to pray for the mercy and compassion of God to fill our hearts, so that when forgiveness comes, it will genuinely be from our inner being where the grace of God transforms us.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, grant me a heart filled with Your love, grace and compassion so that forgiveness of others truly comes from within. Thank You, Lord.