Scripture: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:12-13
Though I was only about eight years old at the time, I can remember the moment as if it were yesterday. It was Christmas day and a close family member had arrived bearing gifts for my brother and I.
Excitedly I opened my gift and half watched my brother opening his at the same time. Instantly I could see that my brother’s gift was of greater value than my own. What an injustice!
In that moment time seemed to stop, as I weighed up how I should respond in my heart to the situation.
Just a few days ago I felt the Lord say to me “David, that moment was one of the most defining moments in your life. If you had responded differently, you would have cut yourself off from your brother and also from the gift-giver. Instead, you opened up your life to many blessings”.
How did I open up my life to many blessings?
I made the choice to forgive those who hurt me and to be truly happy for those who are successful (without allowing offence or jealousy to creep in). At the time it felt like the hardest decision I had ever made. Since then many much harder ‘injustices’ have occurred in my life but that one was special because that day I decided to make this response the ‘default’ setting of my heart.
I believe this heart attitude is the way of the cross. For Jesus to be hanging there was the greatest injustice that ever took place in the history of the world. His response? ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34) and we know that ‘out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34b).
I don’t know exactly why as an eight year old I chose the way of the cross because I certainly didn’t understand what I do now. However what I do know is that one year earlier I accepted the gospel and something changed in my heart. Even so, I still had a decision to make. Have you allowed the gospel to dictate the default setting of your heart? Be honest with yourself… is there any offence or jealousy in your heart right now? Who do you need to forgive today?
Prayer: Father, I thank You that Jesus was able to forgive the greatest injustice of all time and that the same Spirit that enabled Him to do it lives in me today. I ask that You would enable me now to forgive all those who have hurt me. Please heal the pain that has been caused and help me to make forgiveness the default setting of my heart, in Jesus’ name. Amen
Source: Seeds of the Kingdom
BONUS: Jesus said that in the last days ‘many will be offended’. If you want to learn how rid your life of offence and truly forgive from your heart (even if you feel like you can’t), watch this video.