"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you" (Eph. 4:32).
What can be one of the most devastating Christian problems that many Christians face? Several may truly fit that category, but the one that comes to mind today is the issue of forgiveness. There is no question that many of us face circumstances and situations in this life where we may be attacked or hurt by others. Attacks or hurts may come in spiritual, verbal, emotional, or physical forms from others. We are responsible for how we react or respond to these things. Reacting with unforgiveness will rapidly move us to anger, bitterness and wrath. We need to let Christ in us respond with forgiveness, love, grace and mercy.
Even though events happen in the flesh, we must remember that we are fighting spiritual battles. People are not our enemies, even though they appear to be at times. Satan is our real enemy. Satan stirs up people to sin and do wrong things to hurt and maim one another. We need to realize that Satan's battle is for the mind (II Cor. 10:3-5). If Satan can get you thinking wrongly about people and events that you face, he can stir you to react in the flesh. Paul tells us to let no corrupt communication come out of our mouth (Eph. 4:29). Otherwise, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). We have to choose to "let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph. 4:31). If we choose unforgiveness and hang onto it, a root of bitterness will spring up in us and defiles many in the body of Christ (Hebr. 12:15). This is how Satan compounds our problems and destroys so many others at the same time.
Our Father demonstrated "His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Our Father through the supreme sacrifice of His Son, has offered us full forgiveness. Our Father forgave us, redeemed us, reconciled us, and by His great love and grace saved us forever by placing His Son in us for eternal life. Now as a result, we are kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another (Eph. 4:32). Christ lives in us to let His self-for-others Spirit and nature flow in the midst of sinful, tragic, and destructive situations. Often there needs to be genuine repentance on our part and sometimes on the part of others. However, our forgiveness to others is strictly based on His 100% agape love, that is determined to love by grace, not based on any conditions! V
Written by Dwight Davis
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