Choosing to Forgive

 Ephesians 4:31-32 

31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  

32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Young children generally don’t hold grudges. They’ll react to an unpleasant situation, and then let it go. But adults have a tendency to hang on to past hurts. When people act badly toward us, we think they owe a debt for their wrongdoing. We believe they’re obligated to us because of their poor behavior. And it seems only fair to expect some kind of restitution. Unless that occurs, we refuse to forgive.

As Christians, we’re called to a different way of thinking and acting. One that’s consistent with God’s character. He’s a merciful Father who wants His children to show mercy to others. His Son’s life on earth demonstrated how we’re to live. As Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” God expects us to forgive as Jesus did, regardless of circumstances.

In our humanity, we find this command difficult to carry out. That is, until we start to grasp the extent of Christ’s work on our behalf. The cross made us recipients of a mercy so great it defies the imagination. The Savior took all of our sin upon Himself and died in our place. He experienced the outpouring of God’s wrath so our heavenly Father would forgive us. We deserved condemnation but received God’s mercy instead.

The Holy Spirit enables us to let go of past wrongs and extend mercy to others, just as Christ gave mercy to us.

What choice will you make today?

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