Forgiveness is Vital

forgiveness May 27, 2024

Last week, we uncovered how to stop harboring unforgiveness and find victory and freedom in Christ. This week let’s start by reading Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” In light of Paul’s words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, forgiveness is vital to our relationship with Christ. The first step God takes in restoring our relationship with Him was forgiving us even before we asked! He expects the same from us in our relationships with others.

Often our struggle with forgiving others is because we haven’t fully grasped what He has done for us – the enormous debt He has forgiven us. Think about it – through Christ, we have total forgiveness for past, present, and future sins. He chooses to remember our sin no more (Hebrews 8:12) and to never bring it up again (Isaiah 43:25). Why? He wants an intimate relationship with us!

When we are offended, we take the enemy’s bait and are lured into bondage, when we should instead allow God to protect our hearts. What does the enemy use to trap us – betrayal, false accusations, rejection, abuse, or humiliation. What might surprise you is the fact that Jesus suffered all these while on earth, but He overcame and through Him we have the power to do the same! In Luke 23:34, just prior to His death on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to forgive the ones who had cursed Him, beaten Him, and nailed His hands and feet to the cross.

The secret is in how Jesus responded to offense. Why? Godly responses keep our hearts pure! We must learn to arm ourselves against offense by thinking like Jesus did! We need to love the way Jesus did (and does) regardless of what the offenders do. We have to focus on the real enemy – the devil – and take Peter’s advice in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We need to love people as Jesus does and hate the devil. Let’s all take the time to read Romans 12:17-21 this week and write our own declaration of freedom and forgiveness from it and break the chains of the enemy.

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