“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Many pastors and funeral directors have witnessed strange behavior at funerals. At pre-funeral family meetings, tensions sometimes run high, with some people refusing to even speak to others. Emotions run deep, but God has provided a remedy when all other attempts at reconciliation fail: forgiveness.
Jesus reminds us of our need to forgive:
“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).
Remember that in many ways we offend (James 3:2); we all need forgiveness. In fact, God commands us to forgive one another (see the verse up top). When we harbor even complaints about others, we should forgive:
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
Why should we forgive?
1. God commands it.
This short devotion cites three passages that command forgiveness, but the Bible contains many more. The heart of the gospel revolves around God forgiving us our sins in the name of His dear Son. God’s love manifests itself in His willingness to forgive our sins. If God loves us this way, we ought to love others in the same way:
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
2. Forgiveness cuts through many otherwise unsolvable problems.
When we harbor resentment towards others, we can never solve relational difficulties. Our hearts see only the weaknesses and offenses of others; we cannot see clearly at all. We look at people through the lenses of injuries they inflicted on us, whether real or perceived. God’s remedy cuts through to the heart of the matter. When we forgive, both victim and perpetrator find release.
Let’s ask God for grace to freely forgive, we cannot do it on our own. He will do many wonderful things for our relationships when we extend forgiveness to those who may not deserve it, just like we did not deserve God’s forgiveness.
Posted on Thu, June 15, 2017
by Diane Hultgren