It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…
This past weekend, we were reminded of what it cost Jesus to forgive our sin. In turn, God asks us to follow His example and to forgive others. Ephesians 4: 31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” A few verses later, Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” One of the most powerful ways we can walk in love is when we forgive others in the same way that God forgave us – when we didn’t deserve it.
There is often a battle in our hearts between what we know the Bible says and with our emotions. When we’ve been hurt or wronged, the pain is very real. Our fleshly nature wants to hurt back, to punish, and to get revenge. That’s why we need to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. In situations like these, He’ll usually start bringing Scriptures into our mind. At which point, we have a choice, listen to the Spirit, or ignore Him. Transformation happens in our lives as we tune our hearts to listen to the Spirit and follow the Word of God.
How do you know you’ve really forgiven someone? It’s when you don’t bring it up again. Many of us clean up on the outside, but in our minds and hearts we keep recycling the wrong and the pain of the past. Over time, it turns to bitterness. The problem with bitterness is that it leaks out and defiles many (Hebrews 12:14-15). We defile others when we end up exploding and lashing out at the one who hurt us or spreading gossip about how we were wronged.
As you strive to forgive others, remember forgiveness doesn’t mean there are no consequences. People who break the law should have consequences. When our kids break rules or misbehave, there should be consequences for their behavior. The person needs to be forgiven and love needs to be extended.
Father, teach me to forgive those who have hurt me just as You forgave me. Help me to recognize when the Spirit is trying to get my attention. Help me to choose to walk in love and let go of my bitterness. Thank You for loving me and for forgiving me. Help me to grasp just how much forgiveness I have received so that I can lavish it on others. Amen.
 These lyrics are the introduction to Matthew West’s song, Forgiveness.
Posted on Wed, April 30, 2014
by Sam Petitfils