You know, for years I had struggled with an unforgiving spirit.
I’d put the blame on anyone, or anything, for my own actions.
I finally reached a point where I ran out of people or things to blame, and wanted to take responsibility for my wrong behaviours.
In August 2016, I had written a blog post called “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this.”
The post ended with my thoughts on how I felt the Lord was speaking to me that day;
“Sara, it is okay. I know your heart. I have forgiven you. Put the shame a guilt away. I will always love you. Just follow me. It’s easy.”
And so, I had to come to the conclusion that if the Lord was willing to forgive me for all the sin I committed, then maybe it would be wise to do the same towards others.
The Second chapter of 2 Corinthians, verses 1-11 read:
But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?
And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
As I read through this bible passage this morning, it helped to realize a few things.
- Forgiveness brings Glory to God. The bible says “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.” If someone else wrongs us, we should always see it as an opportunity to the Lord to work through us, causing us to forgive, love, and help each other. The Spirit of God doesn’t bear fruit that is bitter, or angry towards people who have done wrong, but instead He moves in such a way that enables His people to forgive. And when we forgive those who have trespassed against us, it is evidence that God is working in us and causes them to obey God in repentance and restoration.
- When we forgive others, we are also forgiven. The bible tells us that “Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive.” As Christian’s, it is our responsibility to forgive. God doesn’t give us a choice of whether we ought to forgive someone, instead, He commands that we do because when we do, He will forgive us. When ever someone acts against me in some way, I always seem to forget the many times I have wronged others in the past. It’s almost as if I’m putting myself above others, and letting my own pride get in the way. However, God is not a fan of pride and cannot work through us if we allow pride to get in the way. This is why we need to set outside our prideful state and trust that the Lord is forgiving us of our own trespasses, as we forgive others.
- We have a powerful God, which means we have a working enemy. 2 Corinthians 2:11 says “Lest Satan should take advantage of you for we are not ignorant of his devices.” One thing we always need to remember, is that being a Christian means we are always in a spiritual warfare between the Lord and the enemy. We know that God has won the victory for us, however, Satan still attempts us to sin. The enemy delights in deceiving God’s children by replaying certain events in our minds when someone has done us wrong. He wants us to gain some kind of satisfaction by making others feel guilty and ashamed for what they have done to us, however, this is not something the Lord approves of nor does He appreciate. The Spirit of God will do the convicting if someone has committed sin, but it is our job to forgive and love them no matter how badly they’ve hurt us. When we approach others with this sort of an attitude, we show others that the Spirit of God is truly in us and working through us all the time.
One of the ways God has freed me from living in bondage to an eating disorder, was through the working of His Spirit by forgiving others. It when I was saved that I realized the Lord was gracious, and merciful enough to forgive me for all my sin, and commanded me to do the same for other people.
Praising the Lord this morning for being able to walk in this freedom!