Forgive One Another (Ephesians 4:32)
Ephesians 4:32, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
“I’m truly sorry about that.” “Please accept my apologies.” While these statements are said with complete sincerity. They are inadequate substitutes for “Please forgive me.” Some Christians might not discern the difference between merely apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Here’s the distinction: When two people have experienced conflict, for one to say, “I’m sorry” only communicates that person’s remorse over what he has done. It focuses solely on the offender’s own feelings. By contrast, saying, “Forgive me” confesses that a wrong has been committed against another person and there is a desire to pursue reconciliation. In this case, the other person’s hurt is in focus. The difference may seem subtle, but it is significant.
When Christians forgive, the one who forgives is promising that he will not continue to hold the offense against the other, either outwardly in his speech or actions or internally in his thoughts. While it is not easy for someone to ask for forgiveness, it is even harder still for someone to grant it. But the reason any believer should be willing and able to forgive is because of the forgiveness ha has received from God (Matthew 18:21-35). When it came to your salvation, God was willing to forgive your overwhelming debt owed to Him.
Forgiveness means it’s over. The debt which is owed is cancelled. “Forgiveness means that you let go of the file of that person’s sin. You stop holding on to it. You stop holding it against them. It’s over.” The book’s cover image of a chalkboard that has been erased beautifully portrays this truth.
When God calls on us to forgive, He is not calling on us to rip up the file of that person’s sin. He is asking us to let go of it and give it to Him to deal with. He is saying, “Pass it to Me. Leave it with Me. You can trust Me to deal with it.” We find it hard to do that. But actually, God is inviting us to walk in a pathway of great blessing. He is inviting us to give up carrying around the burden of that file, which pulls us down towards bitterness.” It all starts with one simple yet difficult choice: to forgive.
When forgiving someone, keep in mind three things:
Points to Ponder:
List the names of people from whom you need to seek forgiveness.
Write out in detail exactly what you will say as you confess the wrongdoing and seek forgiveness from that person (Luke 15:18-19). Also, confess and repent of your sins to God.
Questions to Consider:
Whom do you need to forgive?
Who has the Holy Spirit brought to mind as you read about forgiveness?
Are there people who have asked for your forgiveness to whom you have not granted forgiveness?
If so, what steps do you need to take to forgive them in a Biblical manner?
From what specific obligation do you need to release him or her?
Prayer, Father God, please reveal those I need to forgive. Shine the bright light of Your truth into the dark corners of my heart where I hide unforgiveness. I choose today to forgive. Because it’s something You commanded me, I know it’s possible. And because it’s something that pleases You, I beg You to help me. Please help me to forgive, deeply, from my heart, as You have forgiven me. Wherever possible, and as much as it depends on me, please heal my relationships. In the name of Jesus, who paid the highest price for my forgiveness, amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.