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.”
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
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
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.”
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.” : 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
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
6:1 On a Sabbath,  while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic  either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (ESV)