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February 25, 2017

Text: “… bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13

Forgiveness should occupy a large portion of your thinking and activities both in this life  preparing to live in heaven  where every one is going to know what forgiveness  really means having been its benefactors.  So that means you must understand how God’s gracious forgiveness affects your divine redemption from guilt. At the same time, it must mean that you intentionally and voluntarily exculpate all those who mistreat you.

One of the most gem-like scriptures in all the Bible is recognized as its “Golden Rule”: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 I hope that we that have already realized the connection our text with it. “…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13  These two passages are, in my thinking, two sides of the same coin. Where one is, the other must go: inseparable. The connection is easy to remember: Do good to all men.  Forgive all who offend you.   

The apostle Peter seemed to have no limits as to the number of questions he could ask about what Jesus taught to his disciples. (That is a good thing, in that we learned so much from the answers Jesus gave the apostle.)  So, when the topic had been “forgiveness” one day, Peter pops off, “So, Lord, suppose some “hard head” gets on my nerves one day; should I be so good as to forgive him as many as seven times?”   Jesus gives a great answer, “Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22  Peter thought about it as minimal.  Jesus thought about it as optimal.  My conclusion: Optimal!

Anger and Hatred are two powerful forces that originate and sustain the toxic environment of unforgiveness. 

Where forgiveness is forgotten anger and hatred multiply.

When hatred and anger are sustained in a human heart they not only poison their possessor, they convince the carrier that it is a natural condition that causes little harm. Duhhh!  Naked self-justification! Nothing comes of this brew but bitterness.“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”Ephesians 4:31  Always remember that when forgiveness is only weakly practiced hatred spreads noxious feelings into the hearts of men and women. 

Forgiveness is one of the most needed practices in all of God’s world, but is it practical? It is one of the most needed practices in the world. Let me tell you something.  I have walked in the way of refusing to forgive others and it is not the way to go! If you insist on treading that path you will lose one of Jesus’ greatest blessings: PEACE! Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 6:23-25  And you will also lose your soul! “…but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matthew 6:15

Here’s a thought to keep in mind. If you have sinned against God or another person, ask for forgiveness. God is gracious.

Here is a little prayer for you. “Oh, forgiving Father, soften my heart that I may forgive as your gracious heart forgives.”



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