Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Forgive as God Forgives
“How can I forgive him if I can’t forget what he’s done?”
This was the question of a woman who was talking about her husband’s unfaithfulness to his marriage vows. The way she asked the question, however, indicated that it wasn’t so much of a question as it was a statement: ‘I will not forgive him until I no longer remember what he did.’
In her mind, in order for her to move forward in life, to not allow what happened in the past to impact how she treated him in the future, a specific condition needed to be met. She first needed to forget how she was hurt.
That’s not the only condition people might have before they forgive:
“I won’t forgive until they prove they deserve it.”
“I won’t forgive until I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson.”
“I won’t forgive until I’m sure that they’re really sorry for what they did.”
“I won’t forgive until I’m sure that they won’t hurt me again.”
Those sound reasonable. But Scripture has only one condition for our forgiving: Forgive … as God forgives.
Jesus didn’t decide to offer his life only if we proved to him that we deserve it.
Jesus didn’t climb Calvary only after he was sure that we all learned our lesson.
Jesus didn’t hang on the cross only after each person in the world said “sorry” for their sins.
Jesus didn’t wait to die until after he was sure we would never again sin against him.
Knowing our sins, Jesus carried each one to the cross, where he forgave every one of them.
Jesus knows that forgiving someone is hard. He knows that it often hurts. But by forgiving us, even when we didn’t deserve it, he gave us a precious gift that could come in no other way. He gave us grace. He gave us a safe place to which we could come whenever we have sinned. He gave us a way to start healing again.
And that is exactly what you give someone else, and your relationship with them, when you forgive just as God forgives.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the precious gift of forgiveness you won for us on the cross. Help us to forgive others just as you have forgiven us. Amen.
Source: WELS Devotions