Forgiving others completely

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                God’s forgiveness is not without stipulation; those who desire His mercy must be merciful; those who yearn for His forgiveness must not withhold forgiveness from others.  Refusal to forgive is the first step on a journey that leads away from God.  Hatred, anger, and resentment have no place in the heart of the believer; unresolved bitterness creates division between God and man.  His true children desperately seek to be like Him; Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”   Every disciple seeks to defend the weak; to feed the hungry; to love the outcast; and to forgive others without exception or restraint (just as God Himself does.)  There are no limits to God’s perfect mercy; those who call Him Lord, are his representatives; as believers it is our duty to forgive unconditionally; reconciliation leads to revelation; for those who observe our limitless compassion have laid eyes upon the unseen and everlasting God.

                In 1956 five American missionaries flew in to the jungles of Ecuador to make contact with a hostile and war like tribe of Indians known as the Waodani.  All five men were speared to death.  The families were devastated by the loss; in one day, numerous children were orphaned, and many wives became widows.  Did the families seek vengeance?  Did they cry out for justice?  No […] instead Elizabeth Elliot (who had lost a husband), and Rachael Saint (who had lost a brother), heard the call of God and forgave the tribesmen unconditionally.  Elizabeth and Rachael continued to evangelize the natives, and the Waodani people eventually invited them in to their community.  One by one, the members of the tribe began to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.  The men who had perpetrated the murders expressed great joy in knowing that they had been forgiven by God (the women eventually formed lifelong friendships with these men.)  Out of love, the Waodani Church was born; a church that thrives to this day; they have put down their spears and have even begun to evangelize other tribes in the area (at great personal risk to themselves.)  This amazing work of God was only possible because two women were willing to completely forgive those who had harmed them; without limit or restriction.

                Forgiving others is not a suggestion, a recommendation, or a request; it is a command; a command that heals both the forgiver and the forgiven.  Animosity toward others distances us from God.  Is there anyone you are angry with?  Has someone caused you pain?  Is there someone you need to forgive?  Search your heart; dig deep; and ask God to give you the courage, and strength to let go of your resentment; to lay down your hatred; to do away with your bitterness; and in turn, He will give you peace […] and your heart will overflow with joy as you grow ever closer to the God of forgiveness and mercy. 

                “Lord Heavenly Father, search our hearts and reveal to us any resentments.  If there is hidden hatred, bring it to our attention and help us to forgive completely.  May we love as You have loved.  May our forgiveness be as Yours.  May we be kind to those who have harmed us; may we bestow compassion on those who have treated us poorly; and may we be examples of Your great mercy.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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