A Lesson In Love
Forgive him? You’ve got to be kidding!” There are some people in your life and mine, who just aren’t honorable, and don’t deserve to be forgiven, we think. Yet, we know God’s admonition:
Matt 6:12 Forgive us our shortcomings, as we also have forgiven those who have failed in their duty towards us.Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Okay you might say, ‘That all might be well and good, but why bother?’ They will probably do it again and not even understand what they did was wrong. You may have approached them time and time again to try to help them understand where you are coming from. In doing so, you may have been called a nag, unchristian, or holier than thou. You may have thrown up your hands in frustration and cried out, “What’s the use?” You might have even thought, “Well, God will forgive them anyway if they repent and until then I’ll just hang on to my resentment. It won’t make any difference anyway.”
Is that our attitude? Why does it matter to God? There will be times in our lives when we face this type of confrontation. They may be our husband, father or mother, Christian brothers or sisters in the body of Christ, those in authority, etc. Conflicts will arise and we will have to deal with this command of God.
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
I feel that God can use these conflicts, struggling against these negative feelings and resentments for a greater purpose, the lessons our Father has for us to become like Him and His son Jesus Christ. We are to learn forgiveness toward the just and the unjust. Christ is intercessor for the sins of mankind, going to the Father on our behalf to cover sins. He taught His disciples the real meaning of forgiveness, to follow in His footsteps.
A New Creation
Joh 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit
The God who breathed life into the first man Adam breathed upon the disciples the Holy Spirit, begetting a new kind of creation, His spiritual sons and daughters. He wants us to look like Him spiritually just as our sons and daughters have the DNA of their parents, showing forth their image. He wants us to forgive like He forgives.
Consider why God allows these conflicts in this life. Here’s what James instructs:
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse trials, knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Greek: Perfect – Complete, lacking nothing…..so that you look like your Father, image of your Daddy. 😀 Matt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father in heaven.
“What does that have to do with our relationships now?” you might ask. We know when Christ returns on the Mount of Olives, that He will bring all nations into subjection. All men will have the opportunity to have the law written on their hearts and will be able to receive the Holy Spirit. Peace will reign for 1,000 years. Every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is the Christ. The question is, will we have learned to forgive those who trespass against us by then, so that God can use us?
Forgiveness 101 – Preparing To Serve The King
In James it speaks of the purpose of our suffering, which include conflicts with others. These types of trials bring about patience, endurance, and longsuffering if we follow Christ in dealing with them. Are these not the qualities of Jesus Christ Himself? At the beginning of the reign of Christ after Satan is taken out of the picture, man will still have struggles with human nature.
The imperfection of man in the Millennium is verified by the fact that Christ will send no rain on the nations that do not come up to Jerusalem on the Feast of Tabernacles as God commands.
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zec 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
We understand, though, that mankind will have the opportunity to receive of God’s Holy Spirit freely after repentance. This empowers them to change and put on Christ. During the Millennium, we will be dealing with mankind that had refused to obey God , who will have suffered the plagues poured out by God at His return to establish His Kingdom.
They will not have known the way to live that brings about the peace that God has envisioned for them. They will not be perfect. There will be people who have been hurt physically and spiritually, looking for comfort and direction. They will need our kindness, our forgiveness, our mercy, and our longsuffering throughout the process of learning. We cannot exhibit these Godly attributes without intensive training. Our training is now!! We are in advanced classes — Forgiveness 101, Longsuffering 101, Patience 101, etc. for those who do not deserve it.
How can we help them understand the forgiveness of God if we have not learned to give it ourselves? Here is our example:
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
At that time, the world will know and understand God’s love for them not only through God’s sacrifice but through our patience, longsuffering, and forgiveness, etc. The question is “Why is it important to forgive the undeserving now?” It is important because we are in training to help the world know what the love of God is through forgiveness, mercy, understanding, etc. Do they see these qualities in us now? I hope to see you all at graduation!
United Church of God