Believe It & Forgive It

October 24, 2013

Friends,
Haven’t we sometimes said to ourselves, “I can’t believe that person did that to me”? Or, haven’t we also said, “I can’t believe I did that” or “…said that” or “…thought that”? Whatever the case, we should believe it. For people, especially those who are not fully submitted to the Spirit’s control, are capable of some pretty low things.

However, in spite of inconsiderations, even atrocities, being committed, Christ’s followers are to always forgive. If we do not, then God will not forgive us. (Mt. 6:15) We certainly want and need to be forgiven by God, so we must forgive. This goes for forgiving others, and for forgiving ourselves.

I’ve encountered people who have come to Christ, have asked to be forgiven and washed of sin, are trying to walk in the Lord and His righteousness, yet are wallowing in tremendous feelings of guilt. But such guilt is sinful, for it is a lack of faith in Jesus, in His sacrificial and redemptive work done for us, and in His ability to grant true freedom. If we are really walking in the new life, we should never harbor a lack of forgiveness toward anyone, including ourselves. Definitely, any sin we recognize in ourselves, we should immediately throw out of our lives and ask the Lord, even with tears, to cleanse us anew; but we should also accept that once we have repented, we are forgiven.

It’s a bit different when we forgive another person. Concerning ourselves, we forgive ourselves as we vow, and follow up on our vow, to turn from the sin we have become aware of. But when forgiving others, the case is different because we have no control over their repentance. Even so, we must forgive them regardless of whether or not they have chosen to turn away from their evil behavior.

If people we are forgiving show no signs of remorse or sorrow or repentance, have not asked us for forgiveness, and have not changed their bad behaviors, does our forgiveness toward them mean we must continue to accept their friendship or presence or abuse? No. In fact, if bad behavior continues, such people should be avoided. But this does not mean we don’t forgive them. It does not mean we don’t want God’s best for them.

Forgiveness granted toward ourselves and others is a necessity for a peaceful and joyful spirit. But, if we keep grabbing ahold of an attitude of incredulous alarm every time we’re wronged, we are going to have trouble forgiving. Instead we should just believe it: In this fallen world there are multitudes of fallen people doing fallen things. But, if we cast our cares to the Lord, including those cares of being mistreated, then no one need snag our contentment in the Lord or cause us to stumble out of favor with Him by a lack of forgiveness on our part. Instead, by practicing the habit of instant forgiveness, we will continue to walk in freedom, peace, righteousness, joy, and victory, and in unbroken fellowship with the Lord.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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