by Pastor Steve Kern
Read Ephesians 4:29-5:2
Here is my distilled version of a couple of things I heard pastor/teacher James MacDonald share on the theme of forgiveness: “All enduring relationships require forgiveness. We must grant one another many minor and several major ‘forgivenesses’.” You can likely point to several healthy relationships where forgiveness has been humbly requested and generously extended.
Meanwhile, there may be relationships from your past that are tense or even cut off. Why? Because one party was hurt and forgiveness was not requested/extended. Frankly, it seemed easier (maybe even more satisfying) to hold a grudge than to pursue forgiveness.
God desires reconciliation and restored relationships . . . between you and Him and between you and others. It is no wonder, then, that Paul invites us to follow God’s example in Jesus Christ. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (v. 32)
Just as God does with us, we need to release others from the sense of obligation attached to the injury we experienced. We must get rid of the growl attached to a painful memory of disappointment with a person.
God’s example of forgiveness is fast. When we confess, He forgives without pondering it (1 Jn. 1:9).
God’s example of forgiveness is thorough. There is no sin that exceeds its limits. ( See Rom. 5:20, 21).
Today’s challenge will stretch you.
Challenge: Use your words to forgive. Is there someone you have been reluctant to forgive? Do it now.
Begin by verbalizing it aloud to God: “Heavenly Father, I forgive _______ for _________.”
Now, take the next step. Intentionally, try to contact the person (Phone? Letter? E-mail?) if it is appropriate. Perhaps your words could sound something like this: “You know, it hurt me when ___________. I just wanted to let you know that I forgive you.”