Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Everyday Heroes (Part 5)
Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?
Matthew 18:21 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'
Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:15 (NKJV)
Everyday heroes act uncommonly good in common situations. Everyday heroes are forgivers. To 'forgive' is 'to grant pardon; to cancel an indebtedness' (Random House Dictionary). 'The sinner is by this act of grace forever freed from the guilt and penalty of his sins' (Easton Bible Dictionary).
Jesus is the Ultimate Forgiver. We are commanded to follow suit.
Forgive what? Anything that has harmed, grieved or insulted us or someone we love; anything that is legally, ethically or personally owed, including money, property, position, respect or even love--like from a parent or a spouse. Everyday heroes are forgivers.
Forgive who? Family members, classmates, friends, strangers, co-workers, preachers, teachers and bosses--even attackers; bad servers, rude secretaries or the person who 'stole' your parking place.
Jesus forgave the men who stole His Life, although It was not theirs to steal--but His to give. If Jesus forgives even this, how can we not forgive all of that?
According to C.S. Lewis, 'Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.'
According to Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom, 'Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.'
Regardless of a hot, cold or hurting heart, God commands us to forgive others, as He forgives us. We don't have to feel it. We just have to do it. How? Say the words out loud:
'I forgive, because You, Lord, forgive me. Show me how to follow through with these words. Release me from anger, hurt or hatred. Heal my heart. Restore my soul. Set me free, Lord.' Name the names. Release them to God.
'Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret--it only causes harm' (Psalm 37:8).
And if we don't forgive the sins of others? 'Neither will your Father forgive your trespasses' (Matthew 6:15). Even worse, consider 'The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant' in Matthew 18:21-35. The unforgiving servant was tortured.
Make no mistake about it: Unforgiveness will prevent blessings and invite curses. Your soul will live in torture. God forbid. So remember...
Forgiveness is a requirement for godly success.
To Be Continued...
Recommended resources on forgiveness: http://www.forgivingforward.com
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Everyday Heroes series.