Forgive and Restore - it is God's way

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)

I know forgiving someone when they have said or done something to hurt you is hard - we all struggle a bit with this one. We might want to say something in return that returns wound for wound, but that rarely works out too well for either of us. We might want to just 'cut them off' and forget about the one who has offended us, but that also doesn't work very well. Probably the last thing we want to do is extend grace, but it is the most effective and godly way for us to deal with one who has offended us. Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. Allow that one to sink in for just a moment. Read it again and let it really grip you. Love - sacrificial, peace-loving, kindness - actually grows out of forgiveness. It is as though forgiveness is the fertilizer that helps the relationship grow. This type of love does not dwell on the wrong - although that may be our first instinct. Remember, that instinct is 'human' and God asks us to see the other person through his eyes - with grace being the very 'lens' by which he views us.

This type of love does not rehearse the wrong, although it may be hard in a 'human sense' to allow God to replace the way we think about the offense with the way he sees the other individual. This type of peace seeks to maintain relationship rather than forsake it. Forgiveness has no room for broken relationships - it works to remove any distance that is created when hurts are allowed to interfere with the closeness God intends for his children. Does this type of love forgive even when the other individual doesn't seek forgiveness? It might be hard to accept, but there are just times when the other person has no clue how much they have offended you. The shoe could the on the other foot tomorrow, and you won't know how much your actions offend someone else. How would you want them to treat you? I imagine you want forgiveness, to be restored, and to have the relationship flourish, not flounder. Grace is desired. Dwell on God's goodness and grace, not on the offense or the offender.

To keep bringing up the offense is to allow a separation to come within the relationship. Maybe this is why God reminds us to not let the sun go down on our anger. Get right with God, then get right with each other. As long as God's children dwell upon this earth, there will always be a call for forgiving action. As long as there are offenses, real or imagined, there will be a call to forgive and restore. It is God's way. Just sayin!

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