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Forgiving One Another
Forgiving One Another
By: Randall Casselman
Forgiveness. It is such a difficult task for we humans. When family, friends, a brother, even enemies hurt us itís hard to forgive, but it must be done for two reasons: For them and for us. How?
To the matter of forgiveness, time is the great enemy. Time allows us to rehearse the hurt, coax and fan the flame into a roaring inferno. Time allows us to plan revenge. It increases the pain. Time allows bitter feelings to grow more intense. The first thing we know, the event is completely out of proportion.
The Hebrewís writer says, Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy... See that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble. Over time, small acorns become giant oaks. The time to uproot hurt is when the seed is first planted. A tree-size hurt is difficult to deal with.
Jesus was quick to forgive. While still on the cross, He forgave those who placed Him there. Paul tells us that God made arrangements to forgive us before we ever knew we needed such. While we were yet sinners, aliens, Christ died for us.
Peter asked Jesus, How often do I forgive? The answer was not seven times, but seventy times seven. Our forgiveness is not based on numbers, but upon a heart condition. Arenít we all glad that God does not forgive by numbers? If He did, most of us would have already exercised our allotment. Perhaps none of us will be any more like God than when we forgive repeatedly - even for the same sinful hurt. Remember, as often as you do it to these, my brothers, you have done it unto Me.
When God forgives itís as if it never happened. Our sins are blotted out, made invisible, removed as far as the east is from the west, remembered no more, scarlet is made white as wool. This is how complete our forgiveness ought to be. Sometimes we reason like this:
ē Iíll forgive, but let them suffer a bit.
ē Iíll forgive, but I wonít forget.
ē Iíll forgive, but it better not happen again.
ē Iíll forgive, but you donít deserve it.
ē Iíll forgive this, but I canít forgive that.
Arenít we glad God doesnít forgive only the sins we deserve to be forgiven of? Or that He only forgives some sins and remembers others?
I believe Paul is speaking of complete forgiveness as he admonishes us to not repay evil for evil, but to be kind one to another. As far as possible live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, but leave room for Godís wrath. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Folks, this is complete, complete, forgiveness. Complete forgiveness gives up a
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