By: Waylon Bailey ~
Over the last couple of years our church has emphasized forgiveness.
Forgiveness in life, in Scripture, and our entire relationship with God is a really big deal. Learn to forgive and your life becomes much better; fail to forgive and you experience a constant dripping of bitterness and pain.
As we have discussed forgiveness, we been forced to ask what forgiveness is and isn’t.
For example, forgiveness is not the same as trust.
To put this in perspective, I’ve used the following example:
We rejoice in God’s forgiveness for us, and we encourage forgiveness of others. While we offer forgiveness of someone who has abused children we do not allow that person to work with children.
While we forgive those who have stolen, we probably wouldn’t or shouldn’t place that person in charge of the church finances.
Forgiveness is not the same as trust.
Nor is forgiveness the same as justice. We should forgive. In fact, we are commanded to forgive. In the same way that Jesus forgave those who were crucifying him, we can forgive those who are hurting us. But to forgive those who have harmed us does not mean that we don’t pursue justice.
Government has a responsibility for the safety of the population (Romans 13) and we have a responsibility to care for our fellow citizens. The demand for justice is a very big subject in the Old Testament.
Forgiveness does not mean that you harm yourself or put your family at a disadvantage.
Then what is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is letting go emotionally so that we can be obedient to God. Forgiveness is being willing to let people begin again and experience the blessings of our heavenly Father.
Forgiveness is a refusal to live in the past and a determination to live in the present.
More than anything, forgiveness is the desire to please God and to make our lives reflect who He is for His honor and His glory.
If you would like to receive a devotional like this six days a week, please subscribe to www.waylonbailey.com. It will come to your inbox free of charge, and we don’t give out your email.