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July 2013

FORGIVENESS IS NOT EASY

By Beverley Carter

 
Forgiving those who 'sin against us' is contrary to the carnal heart, but it is exactly what Jesus tells us to do.
 
He taught us in Luke 11:4 to pray: "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us...."
 
Luke 6:27,28 – "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you."
 
Jesus knew that an unforgiving spirit could hold us captive in a prison of bitterness.
 
For the Christian, forgiveness is not an option.
 
As Linda Dillow writes:  "Jesus modeled forgiveness for us. (On the Cross, "forgive them for they know not what they do".) Failure to forgive not only wounds our Savior, but it can destroy us. A lack of forgiveness causes the bitterness plant to take root in our hearts. Hebrews 12:15 says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
 
Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment, and the handcuffs of hate.  Forgiveness breaks the chains of bitterness, and the shackles of selfishness.
 
Author Philip Yancey called forgiveness an "unnatural act."  He's right.  It does feel unnatural and goes against the prevailing thought of the world.  For the Christian, forgiveness is not a 'feeling,' but a secret choice of the heart. It's a conscious choice to forget my 'feelings', and instead, do God's will.
 
This choice fulfills God's will; Luke 6:31 – "Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise."
 
Luke 6:36 – "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful to you."
 
Romans 12:21 – "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
 
If we choose to live by these commands, then we will always have peace and contentment.  Our lives will also be a witness for God and will encourage others to do likewise.
 
May God give us grace to be obedient to His Word.

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