Mathew 5:7 says, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” None of us are without guilt, not one. Romans 3:23 reminds us that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glorious standards. We have all done things that deserved the wrath of God, but His mercy rescues us. Mercy is simply withholding the punishment that is deserved. The passage in Mathew 5:7 reminds us that to get mercy from God, we must give it to others. This is nonnegotiable. The parable that Jesus told of the unforgiving debtor in Mathew 18:21-35 is a sobering reminder of this truth. It is quite prideful to come and ask God to show us mercy but deny those who have offended or hurt us of that same privilege. How hypocritical. We live in a fallen world, so we will get hurt by others and the temptation to withhold forgiveness and mercy is ever present. But the stakes are too high if we choose not to be merciful to others because to be in fellowship with God both now and later, we need His mercy!
People will offend us. That is a byproduct of living in a fallen world. However, I have a choice in how I will to respond to the offense.
For today’s lesson, I have learned that I must choose to release offenses. Holding on to them and refusing to forgive can create sickness in our bodies and spirit. Furthermore, God makes it clear that if we do not forgive others, we ourselves will not be forgiven. Here is the truth of the matter, we all stand in the need of forgiveness…ALL OF US! We shouldn’t be hypocrites and ask of the Lord the very thing we withhold from others.
I know firsthand how difficult it can be to release an offense and forgive. I have spent a lot of time in prayer asking the Lord to heal wounds that were caused by an offense and to help me to choose to forgive. On some occasions, I had to pray more than once because the wound went deep. I am not proud to admit it but sometimes after praying, I would then go and share the offense with someone else. I felt justified. That was extremely counterproductive. The constant rehearsing of an offense was a great way to undo my prayers.
God has provided a blueprint in His word on how we are to handle offenses. No amount of “justified” anger is worth my soul. I have made it a habit to continuously pray and ask the Lord to make the choice to release offenses. How about you? Is it difficult for you to forgive others and release the offense? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Colossians 3:13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Mathew 6:14-15“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.