Christianity 401: Forgive
Let’s continue to learn from some of Jesus’s toughest teachings - His relational commands, most of which are found in Luke 6, verses 27-38. Thus far Jesus has commanded us to love our enemies by doing good, blessing, praying for, foregoing retaliation, being merciful, and not judging or condemning them. Next, Jesus commands forgiveness: “Forgive and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37c). Forgiveness is mentioned over 100 times in the Bible. Jesus spoke of forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer, which serves as both a model for prayer as well as living our lives as Christ-followers. Jesus teaches that our basis for forgiving others is because God has forgiven us (Luke 4:4).
Think about how much God has forgiven and expunged our debt to Him. It’s like having a billion-dollar debt completely forgiven! In comparison, the person who hurt us owes us a ten-dollar debt. That’s why Jesus taught to forgive as God has forgiven us. Then, as we forgive others, it opens the door for us to receive more of God’s inexhaustible grace and forgiveness. And when we don’t forgive, that door remains closed. Forgiving others also sets us free. How? Forgiveness allows us to move on from our pain. We leave anger and bitterness behind. And we can enjoy life to the full. Release those who have hurt you to the Lord. Leave them at the foot of the cross. Feel your burden lighten. When you do, you’ll experience bitterness abating and God’s grace flooding your soul.