A Forgiving Heart

This morning my thoughts go to the “attitude of forgiveness”. A forgiving attitude does not only apply when we (ourselves) have offended another, but there must be a forgiving attitude for the one who offends us even when we have not committed an offense.

Let me share an example; a few years ago while at my work station at the Post Office the Postmaster came over to me and started to talk, accusing me wrongly and speaking loudly and rudely to me in front of my fellow workers. I just stood there and looked at him and said nothing. That evening at home I got alone with God and prayed. My heart was hurting, for how could someone be so inconsiderate and wrong in dealing with another. My thoughts then went to my Lord and Savior and how he was treated.

I then understood Colossians 3:13, Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And then I was reminded of what Jesus stated in Matthew 6:14–15, that follows the Lord’s Prayer, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father  will  also  forgive you.

I now new what I had to do…the next morning I went to the Postmasters office and asked him to forgive me if I had offended him…he just looked at me and we shook hands. That morning he had a meeting with all employees and apologized for his inappropriate actions.

What made the differance? I went to him and ask for forgiveness even though he wronged me.  Forgiving him personally released him from bondage that held him. Another way to see this is that it brought a freedom to him to be able to forgive me. You might even say,  it brought conviction in his heart, and in return brought a freedom to the both of us.

Even when we have done nothing wrong and someone is rude or speaks wrongly against you, YOU must forgive that person for it sets you free and releases them from the bondage that was set upon them.

May it be clearly understood, we cannot keep people from getting offended for it is just part of living in the world but we should make sure that it is the truth that offends rather than our attitude, actions, or approach. It is of the utmost importance that we follow biblical principles in all areas.

Let me make it perfectly clear, at times, and most of the times, offending is wrong, and at other times, you might say, it is necessary. Let me explain. First, let me say, we are to ALWAYS take extreme caution not to give an offense. We must ALWAYS present the truth and this is where offenses will take place. The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will offend people especially those whom are living in sin and does not want to give it up.

Again, there will be times when offenses will occur in regards to the Gospel but as we spread the truth of God’s Word, we should do so in love, humility, and boldness, making sure we are living by the truth.

Our daily “attitude” toward God and man is to walk worthy of Christ in all that we do “forgiving one another”.

Apostle Paul directed these words to the church in Colossians, so I direct these same words to you and to the church of today“pursue intimacy, grow in spiritual understanding, and walk worthy of Christ.”.

As a “Christian” we are to measure our walk with the Lord?

Let’s take a few moments and ask ourselves these questions:

  • Am I becoming more like Christ?
  • Am I growing more patient, or more quick-tempered?
  • Am I growing more kind and gentle, or more mean and argumentative?
  • Am I growing tenderer and forgiving, or bitterer, holding onto grudges?
  • Do I “bear with others”? or you might say, am I being patient with others?
  • Do I put up with the weaknesses and faults of those near to me, or do I have to be always right.

IN THIS WORLD TODAY the real question is… Are you becoming more loving, patient, forgiving, and forbearing?

As we examine our own lives let’s be determined to allow the work of the Holy Spirit through faith in God’s Word to do this work in us. Yes, read His Word, study His Word and apply His Word.

Walking in Christ, is to become a more Christ-like person. Here is a fact of life, through the difficulties in life; our suffering, our afflictions and our severe testing in our everyday living, is designed to bring us to a place of dependency on God and His love.

One of two things will ultimatly happen; you’ll either quit praying and quit trusting, or you’ll cast all your cares and future on Him.

There is a connection between a forgiving heart and prayer? Jesus makes this perfectly clear in Matthew and Mark: Matthew 6:14 (NLT) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. Mark 11:25 (NLT) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Yes, unforgiveness will hinder the move of God’s power not only in our life but also in our prayers.

  • A forgiving attitude is an attitude of love.

Here are three questions to ponder on:
  • Do you give loved ones the “silent treatment”?
  • Have you determined to love family and friends with the love of Christ, unconditionally with a forgiving heart?
  • Are you bitter or holding grudges against people who have offended you?

Discernmemt plays an important role in the attitude of offenses. The Holy Spirit will guide and direct the believer in what to say and when to say it. Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.

Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. A forgiving attitude is a mark of one that is right with God.

As we set our mind and heart on things above our attitude toward God and man begins to change. It should be my desire, as Paul stated “that I may know Him.”

Forgiving others will bring us closer to God and is a very important factor in answered prayer. 1 John 1:9 (NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Let me ask this final question in today’s thought. How often do we forgive a person? Jesus uses God’s perfect number, seven, and emphasizes that we are to forgive seventy times seven (490) times for a single offence. Jesus brings us to the understanding that we are to keep on forgiving, always forgiving, constantly forgiving. 

These final two scriptures will put to rest this thought on forgiveness.

  • Matthew 18:21 – 22 (NLT) Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

  • Matthew 5:23 – 24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

So we can conclude the matter with this statement; that we are not to take offense and we are not to give offense.

As always, Love in Christ Jesus,
Paul Lundmark

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