Extend Forgiveness

Southeast Christian Church
2 0

Some of you have been wronged or deeply wounded by someone else, maybe even someone that you loved and trusted. You continue to hold onto these feelings of revenge and resentment with a pretty tight grip. Most of us have struggled with forgiving someone in our life, and those seasons are tough. But we discover that oftentimes as time passes, your anger gradually builds and your inner resentment can become all consuming. 

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” So, from God's viewpoint, you have committed murder in your mind when you want to return evil for evil.

One of the best ways to begin the process of forgiving someone and letting go of your anger is to praying for that other individual. It's more difficult to be mad at someone when you pray for them. When you begin to pray for that other person, God always reveals something. He reveals your sin, your multiplicity of sins. 

Yet the greatest motivation that drives us to forgiveness is often our own sins and our own knowledge of all the wrongdoings that God's ever forgiven us of. If you are not the worst sinner that you know, then perhaps you're not being honest. Life's too short to let someone else's past behavior mess up your life and affect your present and future. Let go of that injustice, and extend the same forgiveness that you want, and that you've received from Christ onto others who have wronged you. Your vertical relationship with God is weakened when your horizontal relationships with others are strained. But when your vertical relationship with God and your horizontal relationship with others are in sync, they paint a picture of the cross. 

Discussion/Reflection Question: Where in your life are their strained relationships with others that are causing your relationship with God to be weakened?

Community tags

This content has 0 tags that match your profile.


To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

Ministers of Reconciliation
Ephesians 2:14-16 says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (NIV). Though Paul is specifically talking about Jews and Gentiles, he is also speaking about us. If we aren’t Jewish, then we are Gentiles. We were “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12, NIV).  We were nobodies, speeding down the road of destruction that ended in separation from our Creator until God sent Jesus to reconcile us through his death on the cross. We did nothing to earn this or deserve it—he did it out of his love for us. He did so, not only that we would be reconciled to God, but that we would be reconciled to one another. Jesus is our peace who builds bridges of unity by destroying walls of hostility. He commissions us to carry on his work of reconciliation to reconcile the world to Christ. When the world is reconciled to Christ, they can also be reconciled to one another. This means that our work is not to be right, to win arguments, to share our opinions, or to lash out on social media. These build walls of hostility that Jesus died to destroy. Christ’s very work on this earth was to create a new people who carry on his work of reconciliation. As the Body of Christ, we must do whatever it takes to reconcile people to their Father who loves them. We must start asking ourselves: “Will this build a bridge, or build a wall?” When we enter into conversations, when we scroll through social media, when we speak to co-workers, when we share our opinion or perspective, when we develop relationships. Every day we have opportunities to build walls or build bridges. What are you building? Reflection/Discussion Question: Take an honest look at the way you’ve been interacting with others. Are you building bridges or building walls?
Forgiveness is not Reconciliation
Whether we realize it or not, a lot of us carry wounds from our childhood. Even those of us who grew up in Christian homes know the scars of being raised by sinful and imperfect parents. While there are many ways to handle hurt and brokenness, Jesus offers forgiveness. You see, his gift of forgiveness is not just for your personal sin, but also a gift to extend to others who have sinned against you. When we forgive, we are offering this gift to those that may not have even asked for it or don’t deserve it at all, but we must remember how we received Jesus’s forgiveness. Romans 5:8b says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died for us before we had the chance to apologize. So, while we may have every reason to hold onto bitterness against a family member, Jesus has more reasons to hold our sin against us. But he doesn’t.  Now, forgiveness won’t be easy. If it were easy, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the cross in order for us to be forgiven. When we feel the weight of Jesus’s forgiveness of us, we can more readily extend it to others. What we find, when we choose to forgive, is a newfound freedom. If we become people who extend forgiveness to those who deserve it least, we will become the very picture of Jesus dying for us all while we were still sinners. Just as we are to respond to his death with repentance, we can pray that our family members would respond to forgiveness with repentance that leads to reconciliation.  Reflection/Discussion Questions: Are you currently holding onto bitterness against someone? What will you do about it?