Ephesians 4:32 - "Forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you"

President Lincoln was once asked how he was going to treat the rebellious Southerners when they had finally been defeated and returned to the Union of the United States. The questioner expected the Lincoln would take a dire vengeance, but he answered, "I will treat them as if they had never been away."

Many of the One Anothers are normal expressions of human nature. For instance, most mothers have an innate, maternal desire to care for their children; most extroverts are comfortable greeting people...But our human nature struggles with the willingness to forgive. Here are several thoughts on forgiveness, as you start your week:

1) Forgiveness is a choice; its a function of our wills, not our emotions. We will seldom feel like forgiving others; we just choose to do so.
2) Forgiveness is a matter of stewardship. We are to forgive others because God has forgiven us. We simply share with others that which we have received from Him.
3) We should forgive whether or not our offender asks our forgiveness. Often, our offender will not seek our forgiveness, but that should not prevent us from forgiving him.  
4) We should not make our forgiveness conditional. Forgive with no strings attached. ("I'll forgive you, if....")

Ultimately, forgiving others will benefit us - we will be freed from anger and bitterness. If you refuse to forgive others, these toxic emotions will lodge in your heart and poison your soul.

Making theory practical, identify someone who has wronged you or hurt you in the past. Have you forgiven him or her? If not, carefully think through the situation (and, perhaps visit with a friend about it) and then as an act of your will, forgive.

Written by Don McMinn, Ph.D. (noreply@blogger.com) — November 26, 2012

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