Posted by: missionventureministries | June 1, 2015

BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ONE ANOTHER – Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4 vs 32

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 

Have you ever been wronged by someone? I mean really hurt? This probably happens to all of us at least once in our lives. The pain is worsened when someone close to us is the culprit, such as family member, a friend or a fellow Christian. 

Natural human reactions can be revenge, anger, bitterness, or even disappointment. We often protect ourselves by drawing away from the offender.  

Many times when a victim has experienced trauma, abuse and emotional stress it is important for the victim to remain separated from the perpetrator for long periods of time and sometimes even permanently. 

Waiting for the offender to make peace is usually futile. The offender either doesn’t realize the damage he has done through his words or actions, or he just doesn’t care. Your suffering means nothing to the transgressor. He couldn’t care less and the injured one ends up carrying the hurt.  

Jesus warned that many abusers have extremely hardened hearts and they can never experience any empathy or sympathy for their victims. 

The Lord Jesus taught us by His example how to forgive. He said, as He hung on the cross dying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) 

As born again Christians, we need to approach those who have sinned against us with an attitude of grace, caution and holy wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can provide.  

God has told us to forgive our abusers and perpetrators; however, He never commanded us to forget that they still have the ability and maybe the motive to damage us again.  Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us when it is safe for us to express a certain measure of trust toward our abusers.  Even Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person. (John 2:24-25) 

We forgive others because we ourselves have been forgiven. Forgiveness is the releasing of our wrath and condemnation in favor of these things: 

Forgiveness means,

  • Praying for those who have evil intentions for us (Matthew 5:44),
  • Abounding in love that is only possible when we really are abiding in Christ (Psalm 86:5),
  • Never avenging ourselves, but leaving it to God’s capable hands (Romans 12:18-19). However, we have the God given right to protect ourselves, our children and innocent people who can not protect themselves from evil abusers.
  • Doing good to those who never do good to us (Luke 6:27-28),
  • Watching our own life, and ensuring that we are not guilty of the same sin that have been committed against us (Luke 17:3).

While Scripture is full of stories, parables, and words about forgiveness, the heart of the matter is that it will not always be easy to forgive. People do horrible things to one another, and sometimes “forgiveness” isn’t going to bring about the restoration of a relationship. This is especially so, if the person in the wrong is unrepentant and is unwilling to change.  

So, while it may be difficult to immediately forgive, we need to think on the fact that no matter what has been committed against us, it has been committed against God a thousand times more.  

People everywhere, even well-meaning Christians, have a way of hurting us based on what they see and think. They look at us through their eyes and perspective, not through the pure heart of God. At times, we do the same to others, also. We judge someone from what we have heard, what we have experienced and what we feel – even though we know all of these can easily deceive us.  

We can never go wrong when we follow the Holy Spirit. In God is where we find our true validation and worth. We cannot allow anything, even our own thoughts or hurts, to separate us from the love of the Father. We need to forgive those who try to judge us, accept those who try to reject us and love those who try to ignore us. Jesus taught us what to do in each circumstance. He is the example and we are His followers.  

The Bible tells us to: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32). Our goal as Christians is to imitate Christ. He forgave us, which means we can forgive others. We can do this because the debt has been paid. 

Jesus reminds us of another important reason to forgive. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).  Forgiveness is for our benefit. We experience forgiveness in direct proportion to our willingness to forgive others. The Lord wants us to live a wonderfully blessed life through Him. We should not let those blessings be hindered by living in bitterness and resentment toward others. 

There are many different kinds of “trespasses” that we face in our lives, so rather than lashing out with anger (Proverbs 29:11), or seeking revenge (Leviticus 19:18), we should be seeking to share God’s love, and willing to forgive. 

Jesus teaches us clearly that we are to take responsibility for the relational conflict we have caused. First, we need to be reconciled. How can we approach the Lord when we have neglected the hurt between ourselves and others? God doesn’t receive our worship if He knows we have no intention of loving those closest to us. We can fool others; but we cannot fool Him. 

We need to ask for God’s help as we seek forgiveness and then pursue it wholeheartedly, because there are no enduring relationships without it.  

Only those who have been washed in God’s forgiveness through Christ can even begin to develop the habits of the forgiving heart. 

Prayer: Lord, you know how we’ve been hurt by others, and how we have hurt others too. Give us Your forgiving Spirit so that we can forgive just as you Lord have forgiven us. Amen.

 

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