Friday, November 14, 2014

The Spirit of Forgiveness

   The spirit of forgiveness is a powerful Christian characteristic demonstrating to others the difference Christ makes in living a saved life. Here believers and unbelievers come face to face with God’s perfect love.

   The key in unlocking its fruits comes from applying God’s Word. Growing more Christ-like, our minds, hearts and souls become an instrument of His will, and we discover how pointless it is to hold on to bitterness. The wisdom behind this act of brotherly love is not by accident, but granted by God.      

Do you remember a time when God forgave you?  How did it make you feel?  

   I do. One day I was sitting in my car, and God distinctly spoke to me and said “I forgive you.” Usually, the Lord is more subtle in revealing His voice, but this time He profoundly got my attention.

   It was serene, freeing and incredible. I felt my soul being cleansed, and understood the significance of this experience. I shed a tear and thanked Him from the bottom of my heart. Right then, I knew God wanted me to know how much He loved me, and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude emerged.

  The biggest reason we should forgive others is God Himself. If He is so willing to forgive us, then there are no excuses in returning the favor to those who hurt us! God father’s us and letting go and loving others, regardless of what they do is learn from Christ. It is pleasing to the Lord when you forgive, especially the tough ones where you are deeply affected by the sin of another. 

What type of forgiver are you?

   In our journey with Christ, we will know that there are different degrees of forgiving. The type of wrong inflicted, the offender and severity of the infraction will determine the actions needed in finding peace in the turbulence.

   When the person responsible for the opposing behavior is so painful, it seems impossible to find a forgiving place in our hearts. No matter how injurious those unpleasant situations are, the will of God is to forgive (The Lord’s Prayer) and leave the judgment in Christ’s hands (Matthew 7: 1-6)     

   It is easy to forgive those whom we really love, trust and like. Our courage in discarding the discomfort from their wrongful action is readily available because we are accepting of their ways. Even though we disagree with their damaging conduct, we understand their human nature and are willing to clean the slate. There is not a lot of efforts required in forgiving those we have affection towards.

   The real challenge is forgiving someone we really dislike or despise. That is where we will find the type of forgiveness that lies in our hearts. Here, under these conditions we will know the strength of our spiritual well being.

   Do you cling to “justifiable anger” and feel you have the right to continue being sore for an injustice?  

   No one is immune from anger. We all get angry, and Christ doesn’t expect us to be free from getting mad. It is in our emotional DNA to become upset when someone acts out inappropriately and causes us harm without provocation. God knows this and understands that initial reaction.

   However, when we take it beyond this point and internalize an ill feeling towards our neighbor, then we cut ourselves off of exemplifying Christ’s commandment of loving our enemies. In the Gospel according to Matthew (5:43-48) the Messiah clearly and directly explains the correct way of responding to our adversaries.

   It may take you a while in reaching the point when, you are blessed by God’s grace and released from your discord. The Lord will relieve you from the disturbance, but you have to be an active participant. There is no magic wand or crystal ball that will soften your heart. Devotion and dedication are essential in finding serenity from an unforgiving spirit.

   Only Christ can provide you the strength, strong enough in overcoming the wickedness of evil people. Prayer is its key and perseverance is critical in God’s eyes. The Lord is pleased when you keep seeking Him through thick and thin. Giving up before He performs His miracle in your life would be a mistake.

    We have to remember the Messiah has a different timetable in providing us the freedom from our emotional baggage. Christ does assure us that if we walk in His footprints anything is possible, including forgiving our worst enemies. God takes care of us for as long as we stay willing, able and ready in carrying out His will.

   As we continue maturing spiritually, our ability to forgive increases because the guidance we receive from Christ is an essential part of salvation. No matter how seasoned we become there is always room to improve on our Savior’s commands.

   Maybe you have a different outlook on forgiveness. Leave a comment and share with me the way you forgive. I would love to learn from you.