by: Carole L. Haines
14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:14, 17-18)
My husband and I were discussing forgiveness this morning, and as I often do, speaking gently the Words of Jesus to him, I found myself speaking words I needed to hear as well. I love the above verses because they teach me to always look to the cross, look to the cost He paid, look to love He demonstrated. Truly, the simplicity of Christianity is the Cross of Christ, at its purest core, the Cross of Christ.
Forgiveness is never based on feelings, it’s based on sacrifice, Christ’s sacrifice. But I know from experience, feelings are what keep me from truly forgiving from my heart. I feel such a call for justice, retribution, revenge even. I despise these reactions in me, but I must be honest about them being there. When it comes to forgiveness, there is one passage that has helped me forgive more than any other, it is this:
“While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:23-24 NASB)
Jesus entrusted Himself to God, no matter what happened, no matter who sinned against Him, He entrusted Himself to God. He did not return evil for evil or insult for insult. No eye for an eye with Jesus. So, as I have been seeking to forgive others from my heart, I keep hearing that call, “Entrust Yourself to God.” I don’t need to prove they were wrong and I was right. I don’t need to seek revenge or vindication, I just need to keep entrusting myself to the One who judges righteously. He will enable me to forgive from my heart and to be free from the grip of bitterness and cynicism. If you have people you need to forgive, deep down, at a heart level; perhaps begin with that one step. First entrust yourself, your reputation, your vindication, your whole self to God. He will enable you to forgive, and only He, not ourselves, judges righteously. Have a Blessed Day.