7th April 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Forgiveness

“…he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness;”
Romans 12:8 (NKJV)

Have you ever really been hurt by someone?  I mean really hurt?  Especially someone who you would not expect to behave in that way toward you?  Say a team mate, or a colleague, or a fellow club member, or perhaps worst of all, a family member.  So hurt that you don’t think you can ever forgive them?

That’s a pretty awful place to be.  If it doesn’t change, it’s a ‘no win’ situation, and the one who has to change most is the one who is hurt.  I know that doesn’t sound fair, but who said life was fair?

Strange as it may seem, when you are the offended party you are in the debt of the offender.  He/she has a hold over you—that hold is your feeling of hurt and resentment.  It is going to affect you in your dealings with them and others.  It is debilitating, it takes away from the quality of life, it unbalances the equilibrium and sense of well-being, indeed, it will eat at a person like a cancer.

But God has given us a wonderful way out of the difficulty:  it is called forgiveness.  And this forgiveness is not the result of the offender asking to be forgiven.  You see, the problem is not theirs, it’s ours.  It is we who are hurt and holding the grudge, and it is only we who can be merciful.  The other person is their own problem and there is little we can do about it.  But we can do much about our own problem.

Mercy is the real domain of God.  He is infinite in mercy.  The psalmist reveals that God’s mercies are renewed every morning.  Why would God choose to live life holding a grudge?  He wouldn’t, and doesn’t.  So why should we?  We shouldn’t, and do not need to.

Mercy flows out of compassion, and someone who has offended, or in some way hurt us, needs our compassion, because at the end of the day they have really only hurt themselves.  When we extend mercy, even if it is not asked for, we release ourselves from the debt; we are unburdened and can face life unencumbered with hurt feelings.  And what is more, we are in harmony with our Great God who delights in mercy.  And so, we can be cheerful knowing the freedom it gives and that we are behaving in a Godly manner which, of course, is well pleasing to our Father in heaven.

Father in heaven, thank you for your mercy that you turn toward me continually.  I desire to reflect that same mercy to those who hurt me.  Help me to have compassion on them knowing that it will release me from my hurt and bring me in accord with your will.

Study by David Stirk 

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