A lost world watches a disciple of Jesus forgive and wonders how they can experience that same freedom. Indeed, effective evangelism follows a forgiving lifestyle. It is unconventional and unnatural to not hold a grudge or remain bitter toward a person who has violated the moral rights of another—especially a victim of an unscrupulous authority. But a mature believer lets go of hurt and lets God heal and deal with the offender.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Who has hurt you? Has an ex-spouse, a callous coach, an irresponsible relative, or an arch enemy kept you defensive and distant, because of their harsh actions? Maybe you are stuck in a crazy cycle, in a career that seems to be a dead end road where you verge on rage, as desperate feelings fog your faith. However, forgiveness finds its way out of a heart that has been harnessed by faith. So—forgive—as God has forgiven you.
Christ followers are fully capable of forgiveness or they would not be Christ followers. In fact, your experience of forgiveness with your heavenly Father is contingent on your forgiveness of others. Are you a believer in Jesus who is in bondage for refusing to forgive? His sweet freedom awaits you, as you appropriate mercy and pity toward another’s pride. Hardhearted arrogance melts in the face of humble love and service.
Thus, seek out those who have not sought you and see to it that they feel forgiven and loved by you. Picture in prayer your Lord Jesus forgiving others whose language of forgiveness is foreign to their lips. Those who have not tasted the forgiveness of God do not know any better—they remain in bondage—but you who are freed by Him do. Christ’s love liberates—His forgiveness sets free, so you are free indeed to do the same.
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15
Who needs ongoing forgiveness from me, so they can see the love of Christ in action?
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