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May 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

Salvation is a free gift, but forgiveness is costly!

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14


Salvation is a free gift, but forgiveness is costly. We all have stories of wounds that are still open even after years have passed. The sting hurts more knowing someone close to us caused the pain. Due to their status of being a loved one, we find ourselves in a strange paradox. The desire to forgive is just as strong as the push to withhold our forgiveness.


It could be an affair, divorce, abuse, gossip, dishonesty, or hurtful words. Your story might be distinctive, but the struggle to forgive others or to ask for forgiveness on your behalf is not unique.  One would assume that as children of God forgiveness would be a natural action. The reality is that uttering words of forgiveness like “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” and “Yes, I forgive you” are few and far between. What does forgiveness cost the person doing the forgiving?  What does it cost the person who receives the forgiveness?


If we do not saturate ourselves in Him, God quickly becomes compartmentalized and over time the influence of His grace on our life is a thing of the past. The way we handle the things life throws our way, including the hurt caused by others, is eerily similar to our pre-Christian days. We live in the flesh by drawing on sheer willpower to muster the strength to forgive others for their wrongdoings. Our lives are no longer centered on grace and living for God, but living under the law and imposing the weight of it on others. What price do we pay when we fail to forgive someone?


If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Psalm 34:18


God is the sole provider for the strength needed to truly forgive others and ask for forgiveness when we have caused pain in a person’s life.  One of the many gifts God gives us is the Holy Spirit, which enables us to express that grace and forgiveness to others. It searches the dark places of our heart and exposes areas where unforgiveness exist.  Accepting the grace behind the cross allows us to recognize the help offered through the Holy Spirit like that of preparing the way for restoration. The only way to overcome the difficulties and cost of forgiveness is by clinging to the compassion God has shown you.


This is my Prayer: Father God, there are parts of my story that make me cringe and recoil. Lord I keep telling myself that I’m justified to remain bitter, angry, and resentful as I punish my offender. Jesus help me to realize that by clinging to unforgiveness the only person I am keeping in chains is myself. Lord teach me that forgiveness is the only way to the freedom and restoration I desire.   God help me remain centered on Your grace and mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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