by Mel McCredie
What does forgiveness mean to you? I believe for many of us, forgiveness is something we honestly struggle with. Should we forgive a person who hurts us over and over again? Should we forgive someone who isn't even sorry? Is there a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
The Bible tells us that if we repent our sins before God, He is faithful and just to forgive. But for most people, extending forgiveness to someone is much more complex than that. In fact, as Christians, I think forgiveness is one of the most challenging issues we face.
Forgiveness Requires Obedience
Forgiveness takes effort and requires obedience to God, usually in a situation where we have been wronged. It doesn’t make sense, and often goes against everything we are feeling in the moment. There are situations where we simply don’t feel like forgiving someone, or worse still we don’t think they deserve it.
I can very easily allow my feelings to get in the way of what I know I should do. In my mind, the sins I commit never seem as bad as the ones committed against me. The problem is that we think forgiveness means condoning what was done to us. But it doesn’t. It means letting go of our need for vindication and trusting God to work it out.
God is the Final Judge
When someone hurts us, whether it’s with words or actions, it feels impossible to swallow our pride and let it go. There are things that have happened to all of us that we really struggle to forgive. It is human nature to seek justice this side of heaven, but God is the final judge, not us.
Forgiving means trusting God’s timing, but that’s not to say that there aren't consequences for our actions. We need to apply His wisdom in our relationships. Forgiving someone doesn't always mean you let them back into your life. Forgiveness is a choice, an act of faith that releases us from the pain and gives it back to God.
We Forgive Because We Have Been Forgiven
Being a light for Jesus in this world means showing others the same love and forgiveness that He shows us. None of us can earn it. It is a gift freely given by Him. Forgiving others may always be a challenge, but we do it in obedience to God. We can trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.
A life lived for God is not about what we want for ourselves; it’s about living for Him and trusting that He knows what’s best for us. When we extend forgiveness, we are reflecting the nature of God. It is an essential part of spiritual maturity and helps us grow in our relationship with Him.
Is there someone God is calling you to forgive? Then trust Him. We can do all things, especially the hard things, through Him who gives us strength.
Ephesians 4:32(NIV) ³2 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.
Melinda is a writer who shares her life experiences with God on her blog, www.thedevotedlife.com She also has a self-published book. Melinda attends Gateway Baptist Church with her husband Drewe and two daughters.
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