“Indeed everything is for your benefit, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to increase to God’s glory.”2 Corinthians 4:15 (HCSB)
We have all heard it said, “Living with unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” Drinking the poison will always bring more harm and death to the consumer than it ever will to the person who has offended us, and that is not God’s desire for any of our lives. There may be moments where holding a grudge feels good because that person won’t even acknowledge what they have done. But Jesus addressed that lie when He hung from the cross and said, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) It is important to recognize that unforgiveness is not only a tool the enemy uses to keep us from loving relationships but also a way to keep us separated from the love of God. According to 2 Corinthians 4:15, if everything is for our benefit then that means forgiveness is for our benefit. This cause and effect of forgiveness does not stop short of our own personal benefits; it creates a chain reaction toward something much more eternal than our fickle feelings. The entire gospel message hinges on the fact that, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Jesus extended forgiveness to us even when we would not acknowledge our offenses. When we forgive the way we have been forgiven through Christ Jesus the outcome of that commitment displays grace. Our forgiveness is then extended through more and more people. The grand finale of our obedience is a spectacular showing of thanksgiving and an increase to God’s glory – His glory, reflected in our forgiveness. That is good news, and so much better than the bitter sting of holding on to something God never intended for you to keep.
Dear Jesus, it is my prayer today that you would reveal areas that need my attention in the area of forgiveness. Where there are elements connected to grudges or bitterness, please prune away what needs pruning in order that I may walk with complete wholeness and fullness of life. If there is someone I need to forgive, I pray for the grace to extend through me so that your glory may be experienced in all of my relationships. Glory and honor and thanksgiving, In Your name. Amen.
Think About it:
- Are there any relationships in my life where I need to “come clean” and ask for forgiveness where I may have offended someone?
- Are there any relationships where I have held on to past hurts or grudges that I need to address and offer forgiveness?
- Have I ever received the complete forgiveness that God extended to me through His Son Jesus Christ so that I am able to extend that same grace to others?