No matter how many times I participate in a Q&A after a talk, if forgiveness was even mentioned, it gets the most attention in discussion afterward. Forgiveness is an understandable sticking point in our spiritual lives. Each of us has suffered from the decisions, actions, words and sins of others.
To hear the stories breaks my heart and takes my breath away.
But then I must turn to the Bible and consider my Savior who died on the cross for my sins and yours. In the pages of my Bible and in the shadow of the crucified Christ I have to figure out how to forgive the person in my life who has hurt me or will most certainly hurt me again. (I am not talking about current physical or emotional abuse. Seek help quickly if you are in danger.)
Today we continue our meditation on what God’s love looks like. Links to prior posts on this subject appear here.
Week 1: Speak well HERE.
Week 2: Process emotions well HERE.
Week 3: Forgive everything (today)
As Jesus has loved us, we must love others. (John 13: 34-35)
How did Jesus love us? He died on Calvary hill to forgive.
How did God love us? He sent Jesus to die on Calvary hill to forgive.
How does the Spirit lead us? To die to self and forgive.
God’s love forgives.
I had a conversation this week with someone who is reading Lisa TerKeurst’s, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget HERE . My friend shared this quote by Lisa:
Whatever my feelings will not yet allow, the blood of Jesus will surely cover.
I continued to mull this truth over and over in my head and texted my friend later: We don’t forgive people because it is fair or feels right. We forgive people because Jesus forgave us. We recite in the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” How unbecoming it is to accept Christ’s death for forgiveness for all our sins and not extend it to others. (Matthew 18:21-35)
God’s love forgives, so we must forgive.
This week I am featuring some statements about forgiveness from If, by Amy Carmichael. Her words aren’t Scripture, but she loved people well. We can learn from her. Carmichael served as a Christian missionary in India for 55 years. Her most notable work was with girls and young women, primarily young girls dedicated to the gods, then usually forced into prostitution to earn money for the priests.
Do not skim her statements; concentrate.
Do not read them once; try twice.*
If I cast up a confessed, repented, and forsaken sin against another, and allow my remembrance of that sin to color my thinking and feed my suspicions, then I know nothing about Calvary love. (88)
If I feel bitterly towards those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (130)
If I say, “Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,” as though the God who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (130, Kindle version)
If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (98)
If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying, “Peace, peace,” where is not peace; if I forget the poignant word “Let love be without dissimulation” and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (98)
There is a solution.
The part about speaking “not right things but smooth things” gets me. What phrase causes pause for you? Feel free to share. I am so grateful we can take our dirty hearts to God and ask Him to scrub our hearts clean. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)
Lord, grant us the ability to display Your love by forgiving others. Amen
Picture Explanation: Much of the nation buckled under snow and frigid temperatures this week. Our prayers are with those in Texas, in particular. Cold temperatures wreak havoc and so does an icy, unforgiving heart. Let’s bring warmth to the earth and extend to others what Christ extended to us.
The top photo was taken by my friend Dan Thompson. Please consider following his Picture of the Week blog HERE.
© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
*Page numbers are offered as they appear in my Kindle version, Generation 1.