“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
At some point in your life you will need to forgive someone. The amount of forgiveness required may be small — a minor inconvenience — or a major issue — perhaps a crime committed against you or a loved one. Regardless of which offense against you comes your way, you’re going to face a decision: “Do I forgive or do I harbour hate against this person?”
Sometimes, both parties must ask for forgiveness, but at other times we are wronged by someone while we remain an innocent victim. Regardless, God doesn’t allow uss to decide to stew in their anger —he requires us to go beyond hate and instead do the opposite of what one would expect — love. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a command. And a very hard one to follow at that.
But why should we love someone who has caused us immense pain? As John states, Christ loved us. He loved us when we didn’t love him. He loved us when we were deep in sin and had no knowledge of him. He even died on the cross for all the sins we have ever committed or will commit. He died knowing how wicked we were, yet he didn’t let anger (and it would have been justified at that) stop him from saving us. Instead, he loved us and chose to die to save us when we deserved to be punished for sinning against him and others
We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, but it’s given to us freely. Since he did so for us, how much more should we do so for others?
Dear Lord, thank you for forgiving my sin when I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. Thank you for paying a debt I couldn’t pay. Please grant me the strength and grace to forgive others and love them even as you do. Amen.
Thank God often for the immeasurable grace he has poured out on you through Christ, and invite his Spirit to grant you both the desire and the strength to forgive everyone who has ever harmed you, trusting he will do so.
By Ashlea Massie
Used by Permission