|Jesus Forgave me! So, I will forgive you!|
Recently, an anonymous church member attempted to spread malicious gossip about my marriage and husband. I was deeply affected. To make matters worse, I didn't agree with the manner in which the issue was brought to my attention. This wasn't the first time that I had experienced pain from the actions of another member in my church. Yet, in the past, I had used those opportunities to humbly look inward and allow God to further refine my heart. Now, I was beginning to wonder why anyone would attend a church where they continually felt distracted from God.
Knowing that our family was planning to move in just a few weeks, my initial reaction was simply to avoid attending the final few services. "I can read my bible at home and feel closer to God." I rationalized. Yet, God wasn't about to allow me to leave my beloved church family in such a way.
Within the next few days, while reading my email, I found the following bible verse, thought and prayer. My heart softened as I began to question, "How could I ask my Father in Heaven to forgive me, if I am not even willing to forgive those who hurt me?"
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not
forgive your sins.
-- Matthew 6:15
Can you think of a more frightening thought than God not
forgiving our sins? We know how much he paid so our sins could be
forgiven! We know how much he loves us! We know how much he wants
us to be in relationship with him! So why would he withhold his
forgiveness? Because we demonstrate that we have not received it or
do not understand it! God is gracious and he will not accept those
who are not gracious!
Holy God, there are those that I do find it difficult to
forgive. Please, right now while I'm praying, soften my heart by
your Spirit, cleanse my soul of any bitterness or resentment, and
please empower me to let go of the pain of the past and forgive. I
thank you for this grace to not only be forgiven, but to also
forgive. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.