Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No Formula For Forgiveness

Relationships between people exist because we make allowances for each other’s faults. We forgive when we are hurt or mistreated. Forgiveness is the thread that weaves relationships together. Love is the needle holding the thread of forgiveness as it weaves. Our ability to love others and to forgive is because God loves us and forgives us. “The Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us together.” Colossians 3:13-14 (NLT). Jesus’ death and resurrection provided atonement for all of our sins. His death restored humans’ relationship with God. God’s forgiveness has no limits. God seeks a repentant heart who wants to know, follow, and trust Him.

Forgiveness is a daily quest. For me it is easier to go to God with my shortcomings begging for mercy and cleansing, then to give the gift of forgiveness. However, God commands us to forgive others for several reasons. First and most importantly, we are called to love. “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. “ John 13:34(NLT). “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.” John 15:12-13(NLT).

Second, forgiving others prevents bitterness from taking root in our hearts. If we refuse to move forward and continue to hold onto the anger or hurt that we feel someone has inflicted on us, then we become stuck in that anger or hurt. Our focus is on how we feel, the hurt, the wrong, or revenge and it ceases to be on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We must not deny our feelings, but we must seek God’s help in healing our hearts and our egos, so that we can move forward. There is no one size fits all formula to forgiveness that automatically erases the anger, hurt or pain. We each interact with others differently and react to being wronged differently. While there is no one size fits all formula, there is a one size fits all God. As our Creator, He knows us better then we know ourselves. If we daily go to Him in prayer giving Him the hurt, the pain, the anger and all the other emotions; He will walk with us and heal us. God will help us move forward and prevent bitterness from taking root in our souls. “Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” 1 John 3:15(NLT).

God’s love brings freedom from our mistakes and the wounds we have received at the hands of others. When we allow Him to take the burden of our anger, hurt, pain and need for revenge, then our focus shifts back to Him. We can trust God to make it all work for His plan. Loving and forgiving others opens us up to the abundant life God wants for us. We can truly experience all He wants us to have if we will love Him so much that we cannot help but love others and extend others the same forgiveness God gives us.

Heather S. Deaton

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