Monday, 1 October 2012

What Frees Us

People disappoint us.  And hurt us.

Yet, instead of retaliating, we are called to forgiveness- no, not for the benefit of the relationship nor of the other party, but for the very benefit of ourselves.

A wise man once said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die from it.  Unforgiveness festers at our hearts and keeps us in bondage- which can then surface as the cold shoulder, the silent treatment, gossip and slander, or onto more drastic actions such as physical aggression, legal battles, and murder.

Usually, our reason for unforgiveness is our misunderstanding of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is not defined as the restoration of either the relationship or trust.  Forgiveness simply means, "Giving up the right to make the other person pay for what he/she has done."

When we're able to do so, it brings us to maturity and, most especially, freedom from judging the other person and from the devil's foothold in our lives.  It brings us to obedience before the Lord because He has commanded us to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:29) and love does not keep a record of wrong (1 Corinthians 13:5).

A humble attitude can aid us onto forgiveness by helping us identify with the person who has offended us.  For example, disagreements are, in many cases, because of differing perceptions.  Your perception of a situation can be considerably different from the other party's.  And what humility allows us to do is to set aside our pride as we try to identify with how the other person perceived that particular situation.

Moreover, God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and maintain us.  To be filled with Him strengthens us and leads us to life-giving decisions: "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).

Apparently, forgiveness is not easy.  If it were, then we would not really have to long for heaven because it would be here on earth.  And even God knows well that forgiveness is not easy.  It is costly and painful.  It cost Him His Son.

Yet, unforgiveness is not a burden that we have to bear on our own because Jesus chose to carry it and crucify it for us 2,000 years ago.  O, how blessed are we that we have a God who humbled Himself at such a lowly level to be identified with us!  And because of what He had done on the hill of Golgotha, we were forgiven- thus, giving us the strength and the freedom to forgive!

Sometimes, we may think that we must first be a better person, a more mature person, a Godlier person in order for us to overcome our attitude of unforgiveness.  But just as salvation is only through Jesus, so is sanctification.  It is God's effort and not our own.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin" 
(Hebrews 4:15). 

All Scripture taken from the New International Version (NIV) from
Inspiration from Pastor Mark; most of these words and idea are not my own!

Broken egg

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