Forty Days of Forgiveness (Day 16-20)

Day 16:  And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,  put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other. whoever has a complaint against anyone; JUST AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU, so also should you.”  Colossians 3:12-13

Having received the forgiveness of Jesus, we are to take on the very nature of Christ in our lives.  From exemplifying his compassion to expressing his patience with each other.  Jesus had to put up with the egos of James and John, the mood swings of Peter and even the betrayal of Judas.   He forgave Matthew (Levy) of his sins as a tax collector, He forgave Peter of the denial and He put up with their constant doubts.

Jesus has put up with us with all our faults.  We are to treat others just as He has treated us.  If He can forgive us enough to accept us into eternity, we can forgive enough to live in this word in peace, one with another.

Sometimes it is hard to forgive.  Sometimes it is hard to be patient with my neighbor, family and friends.  Sometimes they offend me.  But You O Lord, are ever forgiving.  Teach me how to live with a forgiving heart.  Encourage me, empower me and stand over me that I might grow in forgiveness as You have instructed.  Show me the humility of Love that I may grow in a forgiving heart.   Amen

Day 17:  “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Eph. 4:32

Forgiveness is not something that is given grudgingly.  It is given with a tender heart, willingly and openly.  Just as Christ Jesus walked among the people who still sinned against the Father and who would knowingly turn against him, crying out, “Crucify him!”, forgave them on the cross.

Even those who do know what they do against us, we are to forgive.  Especially those who also walk in righteousness with Christ.  I know that these are the hardest ones to forgive, because I have had to forgive those who condemned me.  Yet as Christ is the giver of God’s forgiveness, so I also am commanded to forgive with gentleness and a kindness that is of God.

I desire to know how to be tender-hearted and gentle with my treatment of others.  Walk beside me My Lord, Jesus and show me how to forgive as You forgave me.  Do not let me bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by being unforgiving.  Show me how to follow God’s example in every thing I do, especially in forgiveness.  Amen

Day 18:  “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”   Mark 1:4

In order to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah, God sent a man to spread the news of the repentance of sin.  In order to be prepared for Christ  in our lives, we are to understand that we have sinned.  In order to benefit from the forgiveness, we are to reprogram ourselves to live without sinning any more. 

In order to forgive others, we also must give the opportunity for those who have harmed us to repent of their action, thoughts and words that offend us.  We must also examine ourselves to see what we could have done to have prevented their actions against us from ever forming.  We are not so great that we are not at fault in having others offend us.  No one is totally innocent, none are so perfect that we have no offences against us.

By Chirst, we are brought into correction so that we will not willingly sin but still we are flesh and still we must repent and change who we are.  We must be John the Baptist to ourselves.

Baptize me in Your Spirit, Oh Lord, that I might have a repentive heart and that I may teach others to repent.  Wash away the filth of my ways and let me die to sin as you have proclaimed.  As John went about proclaiming the coming of  forgiveness, let my heart forgive.  Let me be as Christ in my forgiveness and let it be complete and wholly Your Forgiveness.   Amen

Day 19:  “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all your debt because you entreated me.  Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I have had mercy on you?’

“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.  So shall My heavenly Father do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”  Matthew 32-35

I am often troubled with the idea that God expects us to treat others with the same grace and mercy that he gave us.  Troubled not with the idea that I must forgive as he forgave, but troubled with the idea that His mercy is unconditional.  Unconditional does not mean inconsequential.  Even as the Children of  Israel faced the consequences of their sins against God, we must face the consequences of our disobedience of God’s will and design.

As God has given us mercy because we pleaded for His forgiveness, we must also forgive those who seek our forgiveness.  From our heart, we must forgive.  And as many we offend us do not know that they have cause offence, we must be the first to forgive.  Hold no grievance against any person in the name of Christ, our Lord.

How hard is it to forgive?  You My God, who has forgiven me, show me how to put aside the offence of others, to love as you Love.  Show my heart the mystery of Your forgiveness that I may joyfully give forgiveness to my brethren.  Grant my the grace to remit their sins as you have mine.  I seek Your Mercy on others as Your Mercy was shown to me. 

Day 20:   “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”    Luke 6: 35-36

Love your enemies is something that we say often but do seldom.  We want to say, “Well, they haven’t loved us.”  Of course they haven’t loved us.  If they did they wouldn’t be our enemies.  We are to love them just as God loved the Children of Israel when they turned away from Him.  God loved us while we were still sinners.  God loved the Gentiles even while he chose the sons of Abraham to receive the Message of Hope. 

If God could love us who deserved no mercy at all, why should it be so hard to love those who do not deserve our love?  Because our love is from the Father, we are required to love all those He loves.  Because God does not create things that he does not love, we are to be merciful to all that he has created.

As You have been merciful to me, My Lord God, so I seek to be merciful to my enemies.  Even as they might torment me and deny You, My Christ Redeemer, I desire to forgive as you have forgiven me.  Let Paul, the “Perfect Jew,” be my example.  As he was your oppressor who became your apostle to the Gentiles among whom I am numbered, let me be the bearer of  Salvation’s Forgiveness.  Amen

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