SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS
=====================
… “For if you forgive men when they sin
against you, your heavenly Father will
also forgive you. But if you do not
forgive men their sins, your Father will
not forgive your sins.” Matthew
6:14-15

A Spanish father and son were estranged. The father later went to
search for
his son. When he could not find him, the father put this ad in the
Madrid
newspaper:

“Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper
office at noon on Saturday. All
is forgiven. I love you. Your
Father.”

Saturday noon, 800 Pacos showed up at the office looking for
forgiveness and
love from their fathers.

Forgiveness is one of the
most powerful actions that Christians can perform.
The world does not
understand the ability or reasons to do this because it is
most unnatural in
a dog-eat-dog world. There is also pain to be overcome
because behind every
act of forgiveness lies the wound of betrayal; but there
is far more pain and
emotional, social, physical damage done when we do not
forgive.

An
Asian Christian apologist says, “If I am asked what separates
Christianity
from other religions, or what’s different about Christianity,
aren’t all
religions the same when you get down to it?’ one of the first
things that I
would say is bound up in this one beautiful word:
forgiveness.”

Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a
brother who sins against
him. He thinks he is magnanimous and suggests seven
times! Jesus makes his
famous reply, “…not seven times, but seventy-seven
times (Matthew 18:22).

Jesus then shares a parable about a man who, after
much pleading for mercy,
was forgiven for much and yet would not forgive
another person who owed him
little. In the parable, the master throws the man
into jail to be tortured
until he pays back his large debt. Then comes the
conclusion: “This is how my
heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you
forgive your brother from
your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

RESPONSE: Today
I will forgive others who hurt me because God has commanded it
and because my
own forgiveness depends on it.

PRAYER: Lord, give me a spirit of
forgiveness toward others who hurt me, just
as You have forgiven me.

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