Monday, August 20, 2012

How to Freely Forgive

"...Freely you have received, Freely give" -Matthew 10:8

Many times, as Christians, we are hurt by associates, people in churches, or sometimes loved ones who we feel should have been more loving or less spiteful to us. Lack of forgiveness is very present among Christians because hurt hurts no matter how holy you are! It's never easy to let go of pain, especially when that pain is still hurting you. However, in life I've learned an easy step by step home remedy that serves as an instant cure to the pain of un-forgiveness and I would love to share it with you:

Think about every wrong thing you've ever done. Consider the sins you have committed, your inadequacies and the many times you have fallen short of the glory of God. The bible says even our righteous acts are seen as filthy rags to God. That's understandable because, if we're honest with ourselves we'd admit, there our times when even our good deeds are tainted with bits of ulterior motives, unwillingness or false humility.

Jesus did not die because he was killed by the religious people who didn't believe He was the Messiah. He died because you killed Him! Those religious men did not have the power or the authority to beat, abuse, spit on, degrade and kill the King of kings. Jesus said it perfectly when He said "No one takes my life, I lay my life down". The fact is, the King of kings laid His life down because of your inability to be righteous!

Factually speaking, there were things that your unrighteousness made you entitled to. Sickness is a punishment of your unrighteousness. Poverty is a punishment of your sins. Lack of peace and all these negative things is what you deserved as a person who constantly fails and falls short of perfection. 

When God saw that you were failing Him and (being the just God that He is) knew that you deserved pain, lack of peace and death as your punishment, His heart could not allow for that to be your portion. The bible says that in sending Jesus to the earth, He was PEIRCED for the transgressions that were YOURS, He was CRUSHED for YOUR INIQUITIES; the punishment that brought YOU peace was upon HIM (meaning He took the punishment you deserved), and by His wounds you are healed.

When, I really became honest with myself and thought about how much of a failure I was... always making mistakes and never able to be perfect in pleasing God, even though I genuinely tried... and then when I learned the true extent to which God doesn't care how imperfect I am because the price for my unrighteousness was taken care of by Him, I couldn't understand why He thought I deserved that type of treatment. Nevertheless, I was grateful for His love because I knew had it not been for his undeserved mercifulness and unconditional faithfulness to me, I would have been dead and in an eternal punishment of torment a long time ago.

When you really understand that all that you have in life is undeserved; when you really come to learn that had it not been for the grace of God (which you and I don't even deserve to be entitled to) you would not even be alive, you would realize that your imperfect brothers and sisters are equally entitled to that unconditional love. Technically, none of us deserve it. You might not have committed the same wrong that person who hurt you committed, but in the eyes of God all sin is equally unrighteous. There is not one person who is more or less deserving of forgiveness because ALL OFFENSES ARE OFFENSIVE!

I've reached the point where (sometimes) when people hurt me, I see the glory of God in it. I examine a person's mistakes and it takes me back to the fact that if I forgive that person, I am giving them forgiveness they do NOT deserve. That mere thought reminds me that without Jesus, I am nothing but an imperfect, undeserving sinner on my way to punishment and death. I see myself in other people's short-comings and am reminded of the scripture verse quoted above: Freely I have received so freely I can give. Out of the abundance of forgiveness I've received from God I can freely give forgiveness to others. You will know when you are truly conscious of how much God's love for you is unconditional when you are able to freely give forgiveness to others the way He freely gave it to you so you can live and have the right to live happily.

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