Friday, March 30, 2018

Ultimate Forgiveness

It's so amazing to me when I hear the stories, the incredible stories of impossible forgiveness. Have you heard them?

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

There is the story of the little boy who's parents were missionaries. His father was among a group who were slaughtered by a tribe in Equador, yet he grew up to become one of their family. You can see a version of his story in the movie," The End of The Spear." and read more about it here:

Then there's the story of the mom who's teenage son was murdered by another teenager. After 6 months, she regularly visited the boy in prison and brought him gifts. When he was released, she took him into her home, and later took him as her own son. To read more about this story you can go here: 

How can people forgive in such extravagant ways when so many of us have trouble even accepting the relatively minor things that others have done to us? How can you step into someone's life who has hurt you so badly? Perhaps the answer lies at the cross where the ultimate story of forgiveness took place; the story that many gloss over or minimize with the commercial aspects of the Easter holiday. God sent His only son to live to teach, heal and deliver, only to be abandoned and tortured. And he took the most horrible punishment for all of our sins, and still asked God to forgive us for what was done to him.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Jesus isn't just the ultimate sacrifice, but also our example. And when we ask, and are ready to surrender, we are given the grace to be able to forgive things we could not imagine forgiving. I am one who has had to do that. By the grace of God only, for it was Him through me that did the forgiving. That day I was set free from things I didn't know held me captive. My whole life changed.

Forgiveness is an act that in most cases is never known by the person being forgiven. By forgiving, we break the chains of anger, sadness and bitterness that keep us held to the past, and unable to move forward. A counselor once described unforgiveness as going through life feeling like you are juggling balls or carrying a heavy ball and chain all the time! How very exhausting and distracting that is! When we refuse to forgive, we put a roadblock in our own way to true repentance as God tells us more than once in scripture that we must forgive in order to be forgiven.

 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

I pray that you can meditate upon and reach out to God to help you forgive and be free and then experience the peace that knows no understanding.