Absolute Forgiveness

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

                Those who desire God’s mercy must also be merciful; those who yearn for His forgiveness must not withhold forgiveness from others.  Hatred, anger, and resentment have no place in the heart of the believer; as unresolved bitterness creates division between God and man.  Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Everyone who seeks to follow the Lord also desires to imitate Him; forgiving those who repent without restriction or exception. God’s mercy is immeasurable; in turn, those who practice unconditional forgiveness are wonderful examples of His limitless love.

                In 1956, five American missionaries flew in to the jungles of Ecuador; seeking to make contact with a hostile and war-like tribe of Indians known as the Waodani.  All five men were speared to death.  Their families were devastated by the loss; in a single day, a number of wives were widowed and a handful of children were orphaned.  But did the remaining family members seek vengeance?  Did they cry out for justice?  No. Instead Elizabeth Elliot (who had lost her husband), and Rachael Saint (who had lost her brother), were obedient to God; forgiving the tribesman unconditionally. Elizabeth and Rachael continued evangelizing the natives. The Waodani people eventually invited them in to their community.  One by one, the members of the tribe began committing their lives to Jesus Christ.  The men who had perpetrated the murders expressed great joy in knowing that they had been forgiven.  The women eventually formed lifelong friendships with the individuals who had killed their loved ones.  This unconditional forgiveness has given birth to the Waodani Church; a church that is currently thriving.  They have abandoned their spears and picked up their bibles; going so far as to evangelize the other neighboring tribes as well (at great personal risk to themselves.)  This amazing work of God was only made possible because two women were willing to forgive without restriction.

                Forgiving others is not a suggestion, a recommendation, or a request; it is a command; a command that heals both the forgiver and those who are forgiven.  Is there anyone you’re angry with?  Has someone caused you great pain?  Then you must forgive them.  Search your heart and ask God to give you the courage, and the strength to let go of your resentments; to lay down your hostilities; to do away with your bitterness. In turn, God will give you peace…and your heart will be filled with joy as you walk in fellowship with the almighty and everlasting Lord.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, search our hearts and reveal our hidden resentments.  Give us the strength and the courage to forgive without restriction.  May we love as You have loved.  May we forgive as You have forgiven.  We cherish You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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