This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
This month’s “one another study” is FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER. My gut reaction in one word descriptions? Yikes. Really? Tough. How? Is it really possible?
Okay, that last description was four words. But in reality, I think we have all shared these thoughts and feelings about forgiving one another at one time or another. There is SO MUCH out there on this subject. There are many perspectives, many layers and levels of this complicated and far reaching subject. Where to begin?
As followers of Christ, I think it is obvious where to begin…and where to end, for that matter. THE BIBLE. Biblical forgiveness is our guide, our reliable standard, the TRUTH. It is God-breathed and the Holy Spirit will guide us through this daunting practice.
If we do not embrace biblical forgiveness, then the Gospel becomes diluted. A diluted or watered-down Gospel no longer has the same power, effectiveness, and life changing transformation it offers to those who believe.
So why might we not embrace biblical forgiveness? I think there are lots of reasons. In a nutshell, it is our sinful hearts. We want to do life our own way. We want quick fixes or no fixes. We want to avoid the pain. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable or awkward. We just want to wallow in our self-justifications, self-righteousness and pride. We want to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that big, fat elephant is not in the room. (This is my favourite tendency) And, we are so easily swayed by worldly wisdom that it pushes biblical wisdom to the sidelines. Do any of these reasons ring in your conscience?
So let’s think again of forgiving one another in one word. The one word description that is the foundation for biblical forgiveness. He has captured my heart and life in this forgiving thing…….
Whew. It may seem obvious to some. It may seem a bit platitudinal to others. However, it is the truth and reality to those of us who profess to be followers of Christ. He is the remedy to all of life; and to forgiving one another. THE BOTTOM LINE. It is indeed a profound mystery, but a wondrous reality! Girls, we CAN love each other, we CAN encourage each other….because Jesus has poured out His love into our hearts and souls. And now, we can forgive one another; REALLY forgive from our hearts- because of Jesus who forgave US!
For our part, we must pray for one another to be teachable, to be willing for the Holy Spirit to change our hearts every day to be more like Christ. This is not easy, but it leads to LIFE.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU THIS MONTH is to begin to think and ponder this HUGE one anothering command-personally, in your family, in your circle of friends, in our church family. Take some time to write down your thoughts in your quiet time-observations, questions, feelings. It can be very personal or can be general; no right or wrong-just between you and our Lord. Talk to God about it out loud. Lay it at the foot of the cross.
I will do the same. Let’s see what God does this month. He is a God of surprises and desires the BEST for us. I am praying for you and for me this week that we won’t water down the Gospel, but that we will embrace the Gospel in biblical forgiveness for one another. Do I hear an amen?
Love, Kathy x