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by Mark Nickles
5/05/2019 / Christian Living
Forgiveness. It’s one of those concepts that everyone is aware of, but most probably don’t have enough experience with. We withhold it, don’t receive it, or both. Yet, forgiveness is badly needed today, in the building, mending and deepening of all kinds of relationships.
When talking about forgiveness, it is important to point out what it is NOT. Forgiveness is not ignoring a wrong. It is not making light of it, pretending it doesn’t hurt, or just agreeing to “get along”. When a person is treated unfairly, it is something which must be addressed. Jesus even gave guidelines for how this should take place among his followers. In Matthew 18, verses 15 through 17 detail an intricate process which involves one-on-one conversation, intervention with witnesses, and finally the involvement of the whole church, if necessary.
Now, let’s address what forgiveness IS, according to the Bible. It is more than just settling accounts. God’s word indicates that true forgiveness involves actually acting in the best interests of the person who has offended you. In 1 Samuel 24, as Saul was hunting David down to kill him, David refused to harm the king because he was God’s anointed one. More than just trying to keep peace and avoid being murdered, David acted in Saul’s best interests, despite his disobedience to God.
Additionally, Romans 12:20 tells us, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” The “burning coals” statement means that their conscience will be greatly affected, and they will see the good in your actions.
Finally, there is a form of forgiveness that EVERY person needs in their lives. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Forgiveness of sins, and the salvation that follows surrendering one’s life to Jesus is available to anyone. There is no greater experience than having the slate of our past wiped clean by God, and becoming a part of his family!
Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in Northeastern Oklahoma. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles.
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