Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus

What Matters Most to God in a Disciple (Part 9)

“Love . . . keeps no record of when it has been wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:5c NLT).

Love . . . forgives. Graciously.

As we continue meditating on what matters most to God in a disciple, let’s ponder the scope and path of forgiveness that we began previously.

God’s Word is clear about His countercultural desire for us to forgive:

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

(Luke 6:35-36 NLT).

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31 ESV).

Other questions emerge, in addition to those raised in our previous segment.

First: Other than other persons, who else might you and I need to forgive?

Many of us need to forgive ourselves. Satan, our accuser (Revelation 12:10), revels in discouraging us with unrelenting accusations, in God’s ear and in our hearts, about one past failure or another.

Other times we blame God, consciously or subconsciously, for emotional or physical pain that we experienced. “God, You gave me an abusive mother and an alcoholic father. It’s no wonder that I’m a wreck. Who I am today is Your fault, not mine.”

Whether or not you or I understand a wrenching trauma that we experience, we truly worship when we stand firm on this reality: Since God is sovereign, my response to this situation is more important in His eyes than my situation itself. Forgive Him—as He forgave you.

Second: For God’s glory, Satan’s defeat, and our stewardship of life, how can we “forgive” well?

1 John 1:9 summarizes the way God forgives us:

“He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

That is, we can trust God: (a) to honor His own laws justly, (b) disregard our offenses—because of Christ’s atonement—and (c) purge our record of wrongdoing.

So . . . can those who hurt or offend you or me trust us to stand firm and: (a) honor God’s commands, (b) let go of our anger and vengeance—because of Christ’s atonement—and (c) “keep no record of when we’ve been wronged”? When Satan accuses you or me about some past failure, can we stand firm and resist Satan in the manner of 1 John 1:9?

Privately or with some friends, how would you answer these questions?

  • About Christlike convictions: What does our forgiveness reveal about our trust that God is our Protector and Avenger?
  • About Christlike kindness: On whom are we focusing—and not focusing—when we rehearse wrongs done to us by others?
  • About true worship: How is forgiveness an act of worship?

Do you want to honor Him, and do what matters most to Him? I do. Let’s forgive others, forgive ourselves, and forgive God as He forgives us.

How do you expect that your commitment to forgiveness will be tested this week?

© 2018 John C Garmo

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