Chapter 5

God has equipped us to love and forgive.

Some of the biggest tempests come within our own families and among our closest friends. We have little control over other people’s actions and responses, but we do have control over our own. When your mother disowns you, when your father cannot love you, when your son rebels, when your friend betrays you, when your spouse walks out on you, God can enable us to love and forgive that person.

Forgiving a wrongdoer doesn’t mean that you support or excuse their actions. Nor does it mean that you are required to reconcile with people who threaten you and your family’s health and safety. Forgiveness is never an excuse for abuse. What is forgiveness, then? Forgiving someone means that you release yourself as a judge over the offender and transfer judgment to God. The apostle Paul writes, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (romans 12:19).

Forgiving someone means that you release yourself as a judge over the offender and transfer judgment to God.

The person who has wounded you may have no resources beyond herself, but we do. Christ has shown us the way. We are to forgive others as our Father has forgiven us: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (ephesians 4:32).

How can we do this? Not in our own strength, but by the power of God, which is poured out into us. “This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (ephesians 1:19–20 nlt). That’s the power we’ve been given to forgive.

When hate and hurt are met with love and forgiveness, the storm may not always end but we will find calm and peace.

Reflections

  1. Read Luke 7:36–50. What principle of forgiveness does Jesus teach us here?
  2. Jesus asks us to “forgive as we have been forgiven.” What has Jesus forgiven in your life?
  3. If you are experiencing hardship right now because of the harmful actions of another, make a list of the benefits that will come to you by obeying Jesus and forgiving this person.

 

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