Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
There is an amazing amount of hurt in this world. We are flawed human beings. We live in a broken world. We are not immune to disease, suffering, and people. People that disappoint, hurt and fail us.
As a friend, pastor, husband, father, grandfather I wish I could fix it. I wish I could fix me. I recognize that I need forgiveness desperately, and people need forgiveness from me.
R.T. Kendall in his book Total Forgiveness states, “Totally forgiving another person is an achievable act. It can be done and it is something that you and I must keep doing.” I am commanded to love the Lord my God above all else, and I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself. That means I must forgive.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we do not forgive others. We harbor bitterness if we do not forgive. Our intimacy with Christ is broken if we do not forgive. We become prisoners of our own unforgiveness, if we don’t forgive. We need to set that prisoner free.
Ask yourself these questions:
Can I be a fully aware of what someone has done and still forgive them?
Can I choose to keep no record of the wrong?
Can I be gracious, when everyone else is telling me you have every reason to give retribution?
Can I forgive God? Ultimately any resentment or bitterness will be pointed toward Him.
Can I forgive myself?
These thoughts from Kendall and others constantly remind me that I need God’s power in my life. I cannot live the Christian life apart from His Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can manifest the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Even the desire to please the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, must come from my innermost being, put there by a new heart and the ever present Holy Spirit.
The longer we live this life on earth, the more we see our inadequacies. Life itself causes us to look forward to the life to come. God will restore all things to Himself, He will dispense justice, and He will welcome me to His banquet table. His banner over me is love.
I am grateful for each one of you. I’m excited that you desire as I do to finish well. I am thankful for your partnership in the gospel in all our cities and in all our ministries.