When the Spirit Prompts, Forgive

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” I Corinthians 2:14

Ever wonder how we are nudged by God’s Spirit? I have wondered if the Holy Spirit resides in my thoughts, feelings, or body. I consider this a mystery, however it works.

An example of God’s mysteries is his commandment that we forgive one another. During Jesus’ public ministry he forgave people routinely — and his critics hated him for it. But Jesus told us to forgive our sister or brother not seven times, but seven times seventy (Matthew 18:21-21). Outrageous!

Jesus’ lavish offering of forgiveness, and his call to forgive, may not seem wise today. One reason might be our pride. Studies show that when we are proud — when we are “full of ourselves” rather than God’s Spirit — we are prone to not forgive others, nor accept forgiveness from others. We may think that forgiveness shows weakness, lets the perpetrator “off the hook” or approves of what they did. We may not offer forgiveness because we want the wrong-doer to suffer.

Yet the Spirit prompts us to do it. Forgiving others make more sense when we remember what God did for us. He forgave us even while we were still sinners, and that Jesus suffered and died to make God’s redemption complete. Theologian Louis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Do you feel nudged to forgive people who have hurt you? Or do you want to nurse your ego by not forgiving?

Dear God, forgive me for my unwillingness to forgive! Forgive me for squelching your Spirit! You have forgiven me of so much, and have provided your Spirit to guide me in wise choices. Help me listen authentically to your voice, and to accept the things that are of you. Amen.

By Dr. Bill Strom
Used by Permission

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