The Gifts Part 16
Another aspect of forgiveness that I wanted to delve into if only briefly, and one which is important for us as believers especially when we desire the greater things of God, the deeper things of God, or the healing touch of God, is that just as we are forgiven, we must likewise forgive. Forgiveness is a two way street, it is reciprocal, and just as God the Father has forgiven us, restored us, made us new and whole again, we must likewise forgive those who have wronged us, who have maligned us, who have spoken evil of us, and who have hurt us.
I could sit here, and start rattling off quotes about forgiveness, like how it is the giving of life, how it is the fragrance of God’s kingdom, but telling others to forgive and teaching on forgiveness is allot easier to do than actually forgiving.
Yes forgiving someone, especially someone who has wronged you or hurt you, or what revs my engine into redline territory, when someone has wronged or hurt someone I love, is difficult. Saying you forgive the person is easy, don’t get me wrong, but actually forgiving them in your heart is where the problems arise.
There have been two people in my life that I found monumentally difficult to forgive, both of which hurt and maligned those closest to me in an unjust and untruthful manner. It took countless days on my knees, it took many hours of prayer, it took going to the word of God over and over again to come to that place where I knew I had truly forgiven them.
I won’t lie to you, it’s hard forgiving someone who has wounded you deeply and truly, because although the wound might have healed the scar remains, and each time you see it you are reminded of the heartlessness and ease with which someone you considered a friend plunged the knife in your back.
‘Stop picking at the scab’ these were the words a preacher friend of mine spoke when after asking him to pray for me, I told him it had to do with forgiving someone who had blindsided and effectively tried to destroy my family. It made sense to me at the time, and the more I pondered those simple words, I realized that by holding on to bitterness in my heart, by not forgiving, I wasn’t hurting the individual in question, I was only hurting myself.
When you hold on to unforgiveness, when you hold on to bitterness, they begin to pollute your inner man, they begins to take their toll on your relationship with God, and if we hold on to them long enough they can even become a stumbling block between us and Him.
Luke 6:36-38 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Yes, it’s easy to read these words; it is far more difficult to apply them practically in our daily lives. No matter how difficult it might be to love our enemies however, no matter how difficult it might be to forgive someone who has wounded us deeply, we must do it, because with the same measure that we use, it will be measured back to us.
If we are cruel, and cold, and show no grace, if we judge everyone and everything harshly and without knowing all the facts, if we condemn brothers and sisters in Christ just because we see a certain issue differently, when it’s our turn under the microscope, when it’s our turn in the crosshairs we ought not to expect to be treated any differently than we had been treating others.
I’ve known a few people who after having mercilessly excoriated, berated and condemned countless individuals were awestruck and incredulous when the same was visited upon them. Only then, only when it was their turn to be publicly flogged, did they cry for mercy, but no mercy came because the same measure that they used was being measured back to them.
One of the things that made it easier for me to forgive is the absolute knowledge that we serve a just God and He will defend the righteous, and judge in uprightness.
Psalm 9:7-8, “But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.”
‘But you don’t understand brother Mike, they’re spreading lies about me, they’re speaking untrue and hurtful things, they are besmirching my character and my name.’
Don’t I understand, really? I understand it far better than you can possibly imagine, I’ve lived it, and I’m certain to live it again, but keeping bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart will not bring you justice.
No matter the hurtful things that have been said against you, no matter the untrue smears that have been leveled against your character, be certain, beyond doubt that God will give you justice, for He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. I have seen it, I have lived it, I have witnessed it, and this is largely the reason I can talk about it. Yes, God brings justice, He defends the righteous and He does not forsake them, and sooner or later the wicked is snared in the work of his own hand.
Your duty, your obligation before an omniscient God, is to keep yourself pure, to strive for righteousness, to forgive, to measure with mercy and with grace and with love and with kindness, knowing that the day will come when God will avenge you, reward you, and measure back to you with the same measure that you used.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.