Finding Faith: Forgiveness fueled by love
The Bible says you cannot love God and hate your neighbor. You must love and forgive.
But only the love of God brings the power to love like that, that crosses the protest line. Love is not an emotion or feeling. Love is about obedience to God, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Ask yourself, do you love yourself enough to break out of your current comfortable mind-set? Do you love yourself enough to be obedient to God’s command and make your life an example of honor in action?
If you do, begin right now to embrace love as a choice and put the Golden Rule into action by self-sacrificially forgiving and honoring people, especially when you don’t believe they’ve earned it. Grace, after all, is undeserved.
Don’t confuse forgiveness with approval of an offensive or harmful act. Forgiveness doesn’t erase accountability. Let’s zero in on the real nature of forgiveness. Biblical forgiveness.
— Forgiveness means that you no longer hold someone responsible for healing the pain of an offense toward you.
— Forgiveness recognizes that they may have acted out of ignorance or hatred, rather than the love they were designed by God to express.
— Forgiveness is the desire to look past an offense and see a person acting in a way that is inconsistent with the character potential God has placed in them.
— Forgiveness looks past what a person did and focuses instead on loving who they were meant to be.
— Forgiveness is an expression of the heart of God toward someone who hasn’t earned it. It comes from the overflowing realization that none of us deserves God’s grace, mercy and love.
— Forgiveness is possible because we were created in the image of a God who forgives us. Moreover, it’s required of all who claim Him as Lord.
“If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in Heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.” Matthew 6:14-15
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Steve Salmon, pastor of First Church of Christ, Lock Haven.