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Friday, March 16, 2018

Forgive Because I’m Forgiven

In review of Colossians 3:13 it says, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT).

Bottom Line:
Forgive as you have been forgiven.

What this means to me:
I need to always remember that the Lord forgave me, therefore I must forgive others.

Paul explains in Colossians 3 that I must put on my new nature, and be renewed as I learn to know my Creator and become like him. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in me. Since God chose me to be the holy person he love, I must clothe myself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. I am to make allowances for others faults, and forgive anyone who offends me. Remember, the Lord forgave me, so I too must forgive others. Above all, clothe myself with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in my heart. For as members of one body I am called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

To put on my new nature means that my conduct should match my faith. It's more than just making good resolutions and having good intentions; it means taking the right actions. I need to rid myself of all evil practices and immorality. Then I can commit myself to what Christ teaches me. Also, I must remember that I'm in a continuing education program. The more I know of Christ and his work, the more I'm being changed to be like him. Because this is a lifelong process, I must never stop learning and obeying. There is no justification for drifting along, but there is an incentive to find the rich treasures of growing in him. It takes practice, ongoing review, patience, and concentration to keep in line with his will.

Paul offers me a strategy to help live for God day by day: (1) Imitate Christ's compassionate, forgiving attitude; (2) let love guide my life; (3) let the peace of Christ rule in my heart; (4) always be thankful; (5) Keep God's Word in me at all times; (6) live as Jesus Christ's representative.

The key to forgiving others is remembering how much God has forgiven me. Realization of God's infinite love and forgiveness can help me love and forgive others. Let God worry about the wrongs I've suffered. Don't quench my life in bitter feuding; live renewed in love and joy.

The Bible indicates that there are three reasons I am to let go of my past and the people who’ve hurt me, and the reasons have nothing to do with whether that person deserves it or not.

1. You have to forgive those who’ve hurt me because God has forgiven me. Colossians 3:13 says, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT). If I want to be a forgiving person, I need to first accept the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Bible says that God came to Earth in human form in Jesus in order to offer forgiveness for everything that’s ever been done wrong. He paid for it so I don’t have to. That’s Good News.

2. You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because resentment will control me. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9, “Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge” (CEV). Resentment makes me miserable, and it keeps me stuck in the past. And when I’m stuck in the past, I’m controlled by the past. Every time I resent something, it controls me. Perhaps I’m allowing people who hurt me five, ten, or even twenty years ago to hurt me to this day. Don’t let it happen. They can’t hurt me anymore. My past is past. I’ve got to let it go.

3. You have to forgive those who’ve hurt me because I’m going to need more forgiveness in the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV). Forgiveness is a two-way street. I cannot receive what I’m unwilling to give.

Someone once told John Wesley, the 18th-century British theologian, “I could never forgive that person!” Wesley replied, “Then I hope you never sin.” You don’t want to burn the bridge that you’ve got to walk across to get into Heaven.