And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.Ephesians 4:32(HCSB)
Forgiveness is a matter that is dear to the heart of our compassionate God – and forgiveness paid a tremendous part in the redemption of mankind. Forgiveness of sin is what fallen man yearns for and yet is incapable of receiving, unless he comes to the foot of the Cross and is washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, for there is no forgiveness of sins except through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Forgiveness was also a theme that was close to the heart of our kind and gracious Lord Jesus, and much of His teaching and training surrounds the principle of forgiveness – gracious, beautiful, unconditional forgiveness. Forgiveness was one of the final thoughts on the heart of our Messiah as He hung on the Cross and uttered those universe-shattering words: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Forgiveness should be a subject to which we should also play close attention, for forgiveness is one of the godly garments with which we have been covered and clothed, and our call to kindness, compassion, and forgiveness rests on the immeasurable forgiveness and mercy that each of us have received in Christ Jesus.
Why is the act of forgiveness so difficult for some people? Why does it seem easier to let the root of bitterness grow in our heart, rather than humbling ourselves, asking for forgiveness, and forgiving another who has hurt or wronged us?
It seems to be the case that those who are not able to forgive have never come to an understanding how much they have been forgiven – for the more understanding we have of the grace that we have received the deeper our gratitude and the greater our capacity to forgive other people.
There is an order in which Paul writes about this. Firstly: "All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice." It is only after these negative emotions have been dealt with, at the foot of the Cross, that we can continue with Paul's next exhortation: "Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you."
Let us be those who are quick to forgive, quick to ask for forgiveness, and in so doing glorify our dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Loving Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace, mercy, love, and immeasurable forgiveness toward me. May I reflect You in my thoughts, words, and deeds. I pray that I will be kind, compassionate, and forgiving toward others, just as You forgave me. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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