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Is Forgiveness Possible?

February 26th, 2013

…Unless you forgive your brother from the heart.

Matthew 18:35

We too easily assume complete forgiveness of another is impossible, so we accept our enslavement to the pain they have caused, because forgiveness is just so impractical. We may decide not to retaliate, but if our hearts remain turned from the one who offended us, if we still remain hard toward him, we have not truly forgiven.

Christ spoke of forgiveness from the heart. I believe this is achievable only by the Holy Spirit doing His work within us. Is there someone who has hurt you, or hurt one you love, and you hang onto the offense? Pray to God to give you the freedom to release this matter, even the freedom to pray for the one who hurt you. Pray for them unselfishly – not just that they will feel the conviction for their sins, but that God would truly bless them. Are you willing for God to exalt your enemy over you – that is, if they would repent and return to Him? If so, then your heart is free from the offense. If not, then you are still held captive by the pain.

Oswald Chamber wrote of our tendency to consider God’s commands as impractical, and only consider our own imaginations as realistic solutions. He wrote…

My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will be able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them – “Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”

If we want to be free, we must let go of the offense and place our trust in the power of God. We must put aside our misgivings as the practicality or the possibility of doing the will of God and simply by faith step out and do it. As it applies to forgiveness of others, let go of the anger, cease making excuses for not forgiving and move into forgiveness. Grace in Christ covers our sins and His grace extended to others covers theirs as well.

Only then will we be released from the prison of bitterness and live as truly free children of God. The Holy Spirit will enable us to do this if we will step out in faith.

Lenten Devotionals (Fastenzeit)