Choosing to Forgive

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Read: Ephesians 4:31-32

Isn’t it interesting that young children generally don’t hold grudges? They may cry and throw tantrums, but once their anger has been vented, they let it go. Adults, however, have a tendency to hang on to offenses. When people wrong us or our loved ones, we want them to pay for what they’ve done, to suffer as we have. It only seems fair to expect restitution of some kind, and unless that occurs, we withhold forgiveness.

As Christians, however, we are called to a different standard and way of thinking—one that’s consistent with God’s character. He is a merciful Father who wants His children to show mercy to others (Luke 6:36). His Son’s life on earth demonstrated this. As Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). God expects us to forgive as Jesus did, regardless of circumstances.

This command seems impossible to carry out until we start to grasp the enormity of what took place on the cross. Christ’s death made us recipients of a mercy so great it defies comprehension. The Savior took all our sin upon Himself and died in our place. He experienced the outpouring of God’s wrath so we might be forgiven and reconciled to the Father. Although we deserve condemnation, through Jesus Christ we have instead received God’s mercy.

Now as new creations in Christ who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we have His power to truly let go of the wrongs done to us and extend mercy to others, just as God has given mercy to us.

By Dr. Charles Stanley

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