Forgive as He forgave you

Is it possible to forgive everyone? That unfaithful husband, that abusive parent, that disobedient child, or that friend who betrayed you. How should I treat such a person? What if they are not sorry? They have not apologized. But they keep repeating the same mistake over and over again. What if I can’t forgive them? I’ve tried but it’s not possible

We have all been hurt. Some of you are even hurting right now, saying, But he embarrassed me. She left me when I needed her the most. He talks like he doesn’t care how I feel. He made me feel worthless after all I did for him!

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

While on the bus to work, I read this verse that led me to reflect on forgiveness. Understanding its meaning, I questioned whether I had truly forgiven someone who had hurt me, just as Christ forgave me.

I have come to know that if we receive every word of God, we receive the very Spirit and the life of God. The words of the Bible are Spirit, and they are life (John 6:63)

If we receive every word including the verse above this verse, the Holy Spirit will work in us to forgive as God forgave. Whatever God commands, he enables. Because He has commanded us to forgive, we believe He will enable us.

So yes, it is possible to forgive.

Who should take the initiative?

Who should go first? Is it the offender or the offended? Most would say, “They wronged me, so they should apologize before I forgive them.” Let us see what the Bible says:

If someone wrongs you, tell them, but do so with grace. The text did not say, If someone wrongs, you wait for them to apologize. Some people will never realize their mistakes until you tell them.

The ending of the text is beautiful: ‘…if he hears you have gained your brother’.Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) If they listen to you and change their ways, you have participated in Christ’s mission. How wonderful!

Jesus did not wait for us to apologize to come and die for us, for while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

He took the initiative to save us who were lost and let us do the same to our brothers, relatives, neighbors, partners, and even workmates.

Dear friend, forgive as he forgave you.

How many times?

You’ll often hear someone say, “I had already warned them, but they went ahead and did the same thing so that I won’t forgive this time. I am done.”

It’s easy to become weary of someone who continues to wrong you repeatedly. Despite forgiving them, engaging in discussions, and reaching agreements, they persist in the same problematic behavior.

The next time you ask how many times you have to forgive a person, ask how many times God has forgiven you. Despite all the repeated warnings through songs, the Bible, and sermons, we go back and do the exact thing. (Ezekiel 33:31)But God, in his abundance of mercies, will forgive us when we repent.

When Peter asks this question, Jesus tells him up to seventy times seven. (Matt 18:22)

Therefore, dear one, forgive not once, twice, or three times, but many times.

Forgive as Christ forgave you.

How should I treat them?

We have different reactions to hurt. Some resolve to’silent treatment’.The majority tell their friends, while most resolve to treat the wrongdoer with total contempt.

But what is God’s standard? Jesus says these words:

If someone hates you, love them; if they speak curses to your life, speak blessings to theirs; when they do you wrong, do them good; and finally, pray for them. That is Christ’s standard.

If there was someone who was hurt, it was Christ. Remember him on the cross? Only positive things came out of his mouth when he was mocked with all that excruciating physical and emotional pain. He prayed to forgive them, for they did not know what they were doing.

Do not take revenge; the vengeance belongs to the Lord. (Romans 12:19)On the contrary,

If your enemy is hungry,feed him;If he is thirsty give him a drink.For in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head

Romans 12: 20 BL

Even when hurt, God tells us to be kind to the offender, just like Jesus on the cross.

The power of prayer

It is easy to pray for yourself, your family, and the people you love.

Praying for your enemy could be the initial step toward embracing what God has in store for you. An example is the story of Job;

And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Job’s losses were restored only when he prayed for his friends. We might be blocking heaven’s storehouse from supplying us with boundless resources by failing to pray for our enemies.

Prayer also has a way of healing you in the process. In Philippians, it says that when we pray, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep not only our hearts but also our minds.

O What peace we often forfeit?
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
When do we not forgive?

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matt 6:15 NKJV

Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. Whoever is unmerciful toward others shows that he is not a partaker of God’s pardoning grace.

In God’s forgiveness, the heart of the erring one is drawn close to the great heart of infinite love. The tide of divine compassion flows into the sinner’s soul and from him to the souls of others.COL 251.1

The Bottom-line

Forgiving may seem like a difficult thing to do, but when we see the love and sacrifice of Christ towards us, we will be able to forgive.

We may be hurting right now, but we will choose to forgive as Christ forgave us.

Come to him today and pray for that person who hurt you. Let the peace, joy, and love of Jesus Christ fill your heart and change your countenance.

Let Him help you forgive, as He forgave you.

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