Words from the Heart for Friday September 30th, 2016
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Forgive Each Other
Think about how many of your sins have been forgiven. God has been so merciful to you. In the same way that grace has been given to you, desire to extend grace and mercy to others. Who do you need to forgive?
In November 1984, Wilma and Cliff Derksen’s 13-year-old daughter, Candace, went missing on her way home from school in Winnipeg, Canada. It wasn’t until 22 years later that Mark Grant was charged with her murder and in 2011, after a five-week trial, sentenced to 25 years without parole. Wilma tells the story of the food and love that filled their home the day Candace’s body was found. But that night the doorbell rang and the stranger said, “He told us, “I’m the parent of a murdered child too.” We invited him to the kitchen table and for the next two hours he told us in vivid detail everything he’d lost – his health, his relationships, his concentration, his ability to work. We were horrified and made a decision that night that we would respond differently, and we chose the path of forgiveness.”
One of the greatest weapons that Christians have in the battle against the powers of darkness is forgiveness. It diffuses a potentially dangerous situation, lowers blood pressure and heals relationships. No wonder Paul writes in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Paul brings us back here to the heart of the Gospel. Jesus came for one purpose – by His death on the cross he destroyed sin and made it possible for men and women to come into a personal and transformational relationship with our Creator. But this was only possible because God is by nature forgiving. In Psalm 51, in His great hymn of repentance, King David declares to God “against you, and you only have I sinned.” In those words of declaration, David find the Lord immediately willing to forgive and restore. We who have given our lives to Jesus Christ have experienced that same forgiveness and restoration and Paul instructs us that we then must go and do likewise to others. Each of us has been hurt by something someone has said or done to us. It is natural to harbour ill feelings towards them. But we must not. Instead, we must respond with kindness and compassion. We must forgive those who have hurt us, even if the hurt is deep. Who do you need to forgive today? Remember how Jesus has forgiven you and then offer forgiveness to others.
These have been words from the heart.