If salvation was based on works we’d never know when our good works outweighed our bad works. And we’d never know when we were good enough. We’re saved by grace, and there’s nothing we can do to earn God’s favour. That’s why it’s a gift.
The word forgiveness draws various reactions. If we’re talking about God’s forgiveness of us, it can be a soothing topic resulting in gratitude and peace. If we need to seek forgiveness from someone we’ve wronged, we might wrangle a bit with our pride before we finally approach that person in humility—but our resulting cleared conscience makes it well worth the effort.
Usually, however, the most uncomfortable kind of forgiveness is what we must extend to someone who has wronged us or hurt us deeply. The Bible says a lot about this kind of forgiveness—perhaps because our emotions arm wrestle with it and other lingering memories skirmish with it. It’s really hard to do.
Find out what God’s Word says about forgiveness, how essential it is to understand, and how to actually do it...if we want to grow in our walk with God.
Chuck Swindoll has four suggestions to help us avoid feeling offended and they’re all rooted in the same concept. By shifting our perspective from horizontal (focusing on ourselves) to the vertical (focusing on God) we also avoid bitterness.
God doesn’t expect us to live perfect lives, but He does expect obedience. This means when wrong comes our way we deal with it.
On the surface Chuck Colson had everything but underneath his life was empty. It was only when he accepted Christ the emptiness was filled and he truly began to live.
Just before Christ died on the cross he said, “It is finished!” His death covered over our sins completely. There is nothing left that needs to be finished by man.
First John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to will forgive us our sins....” Forgiveness is what the cross was all about.
Even though we are forgiven by God’s grace, sin has consequences and sometimes they’re devastating. When our actions harm others they can have lifelong ramifications.
When you’ve offended someone it’s not enough to make things right with God. You need to face the person you’ve hurt and say, “I’m sorry.” Admitting you’re wrong takes guts and strength of character.
We’ve all hurt others, and no matter how much time has passed it’s not too late to reconcile and make things right. We all need grace, and we all need to extend grace. Mending broken relationships speaks volumes to those around you.
You probably know by now life isn’t fair. And it’s easy to become bitter because of what happens—but if you don’t forgive you will be trapped in a prison of your own making. Forgiveness is the key to releasing you from bitterness, hatred, and resentment.