But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Matt 6:15)
Is it impossible for a Christian to have unforgiveness in their hearts? What I mean to ask is does unforgiveness in my life prove that I am not a Christian, or not forgiven? I believe that we are all in a walk, and growing in our faith. One is a Christian when they surrender their life to Jesus. There is a point in time when we step from darkness to light, from the kingdom of satan (by the way – I leave that “proper name” all lower case just to dis satan) to the kingdom of God. And at that point in time, you are no longer under the condemnation of God. You have begun a walk that will never end. From this moment, right through all eternity, we continue to grow more and more like Jesus.
So one day you are just walking along and you see someone who once hurt you deeply, walking down the aisle of the grocery store. You avoid them like crazy, trying not to end up picking out soup together. God points out a place in your heart where there is still pain, and maybe even anger. You remember what they did to you like it was yesterday. What do you do about it?
God is a genius at walking our faults right up in front of us, so that we can deal with them and turn them over to Him for healing.
What would Jesus do?
That’s actually pretty easy, because He already did it. Or perhaps I should say the Father already did it. Check this out – God did not hold your sins against you. Consider this passage from 2nd Corinthians: “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18-19)
Here is the key to living in community, and it will work in the Church, or in the work place, or even in your home. Don’t count their trespasses against them. [Tweet This] It is actually the job that you have been given from the Father according to this verse. You have been given the ministry of reconciliation – namely – not holding their trespasses against them.
So this goes for the lost you are trying to reach, as well as the family you are wishing you didn’t have to go visit this weekend. If you can cut them the same slack you cut yourself when you fail or fall short, or mess up, you will find that you can do a much better job of loving them.
Have you ever noticed that when someone rides up the shoulder of the highway and swerves right in front of you, they are a jerk, but when you find yourself in an awkward situation on the road, and have to slip into line, it has to do with circumstances beyond your control, and you were simply forced to do it. It wasn’t what it looked like right? Or how about when you are on line in the grocery store and it is taking forever. You are the next in line, and suddenly the next register over opens up, and some guy walks up just as they open, and gets out of the store before you have actually gotten to the cashier. You feel like – why didn’t they ask me to come over and go first. It’s not fair!!!!! Hmmm – it’s stuff like this that constantly tests your ability to forgive, to step back and not hold others trespasses against them. To take a look from their point of view.
Stop in tomorrow when I talk about the Fringe Benefits of forgiveness
If you missed yesterday’s post check it out here. Forgive It or Forget It!
Thanks for stopping in today.
Soup photo credit: Ben Nelson