“23 He did not forget us when we were defeated; His love is eternal; 24 He freed us from our enemies; His love is eternal. 25 He gives food to every living creature; His love is eternal. 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven his love is eternal”(Psalms 136: 23-26, GNT Bible, Pp.566).
Our selfless and ever vigilant God in heaven is the source of forgiveness and of hope. His most perfect love is wrapped around each and every one of us and when we ask Him for His most perfect grace He bestows upon us His perfect mercy. God is everywhere you look from the many grains of sand beneath your feet to the plants and animals in the wild, to the water that we drink, to the massive oceans he keeps in their place. God is in the air we breathe, He is in the smiles from strangers we meet, to the words you hear from unexpected sources that cheer you on when you need it most. God lives in your heart, mind, and soul, and He alone fills that empty void within us completely. Within these truths we bow down to God, we marvel at His perfect nature, His perfect love, His perfect mercy, and we keep the knowledge that only He is the master of all things explained and unexplained, physical and supernatural. We give him thanks for handing to us his perfect salvation. In its entirety from beginning to end the most spectacular mystery of our one true living God is found within His power over forgiveness and the giving of hope. There is nothing which exudes more perfectly His love than His promise to always be present in our lives and because He loves us all the same we are all saved through His son Jesus Christ.
Therefore, this reflection is centered on God’s forgiveness and His giving of hope.
“Jesus explained to His disciples, ‘If a companion does something wrong to you, go to that person and point this out. But do it privately. If your friend listens and says, “I’m sorry”, forgive and your bond will be strengthened.” ~ Lost Gospel Q, Q77.
The magic secret of forgiveness if there is one can be best expressed by simply saying this; by giving others the opportunity to make amends is both showing them respect and concern for their position and therefore showing them love. Forgiveness cannot be given from any kind of heart other than one which is filled completely with love, because forgiveness is an act of love. Jesus stated that we need to confront those who have wronged us, telling them how we feel about the action they took which brought forth anger. He commanded this to be done in private, keeping this between the two parties that are involved because people have a tendency to judge others without the proper facts and in the end condemning who they happen to side against from a political or person tie. The simple act of private, respectful, confrontation is another sign of respect, and when added up in total there is no real reason the problem cannot be resolved peacefully, leaving everyone with honor.
In my personal life I have known people who when I have confronted them a wall goes up. They become confrontational spouting words that cut like knives. I have also known people who simply refuse to discuss the matter at hand leaving no room for a resolution that is within the best interest of everyone involved. I offer these two examples to show how selfish and immature people can sometimes be, within this we are called by God to be mature in our faith, in our dealings with others, taking the high road less traveled. I realize that sometimes this road is lonely much like a desolate road in the dead of night. A road in the desert where there is no other traveler that you can see for hours and or days at a time. It may also seem as if the other person is getting their way at your expense, which can leave you feeling more hurt, upset, and even angrier than you where originally. The injustice paid to you is a blessing in disguise because God knows your effort, He knows your pain, He alone knows your suffering, and though your mortal heart shouts out to him for vengeance, your Christian soul should be disciplined enough to also know that revenge is not yours to take.
“20 The anger of man or the wrath of man does not bring about the righteousness of God.” ~ James 1:20.
Therefore, be quick to forgive, being fair and equitable with everyone in your life. Remember as a Christian first you are commanded to forgive, even if the other person refuses to hear your case against them, or they refuse to tell you why they are upset at you first. Be quick to apologize for the part you may have played even if they do not forgive you. In this action you are being mature in your faith, and taking the high road, which leads to higher rewards in heaven.
“12 You are the people of God; He loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. 14 And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity”(Colossians 3: 12-14, GNT Bible, Pp.1291).
I know again from personal experience how hard it is to forgive someone who has continuously sins against me. I know how angry the heart can become, but in the act of expressing this anger your heart also becomes hardened. Forgiveness is a practice in humility; it is an act which honors God in heaven. Because when you forgive the unforgivable you first set yourself free of the pain of not forgiving, and second you abide in the greatest of commandments set forth by Jesus in the temple when asked by a Pharisee,
“36 Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus answered “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind. 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments”(Matthew 22:36-40, GNT Bible, Pp.1095).
In the end our journey through this life is one marked by how well you followed God, by the moral lessons you have learned along the way, and how much like God you became as He molded you into a more perfect you. Our endeavor should never be marked by selfishness and greed, rather by asking ourselves this question each and every day, “For as a sinner in this world who am I to condemn another? Who am I to through the first stone?”
“6 If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.”(Matthew 6:14-15, GNT Bible, Pp. 1074).
Thus the spiritual benefits are heavenly, but the earthly ones are awesome too. Remember when you let go of your bitterness and allow yourself to forgive others of their trespasses you will cleanse your heart making room for compassion, kindness, and peace. Forgiveness leads to healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less anxiety, less stress, less hostility, which leads to lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, and lower risk of substance abuse. We are made in God’s image, therefore we are built to forgive. That is why it hurts so badly when we don’t.
May God be with you always, and grant you everlasting peace.
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