Believers, the Lord tells us to love one another, be kind, compassionate - and to forgive. Well, this is easy to do when it’s easy but it’s most definitely hard to do when it’s hard.
When we are hurt by others, it is common for us to struggle with forgiveness. However, we are called by God to be uncommon. Through the Holy Spirit who lives within us, we are empowered to do supernaturally with Him what naturally cannot be done without Him.
Through the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus, we have been redeemed as we are regularly bathed in forgiveness according to the richness of God’s grace. In so doing, He extends mercy to us when we are an offense to Him. Therefore, we are to forgive others so as not to fall short of the glory of God.
The Lord warns that if we do not forgive others, He will not forgive us. There are no exceptions to this rule. This is no small matter for to retain the transgressions of others is sin and the wages of sin is eternal death. Without the divine act of mercy, both in giving and receiving, we are lost and guilty as charged.
How can we be graciously pardoned from death and not be willing to release others from a lesser offense? To love as Jesus loves is to love sacrificially. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
The Lord tells us to love our enemies - regardless of what they have done. The greater the offense, the greater the grace working through you. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we have the power to extinguish the consuming fire of bitterness, rage, anger, insult and spite that can burn within us. To forgive so that we will be forgiven is reason enough for our obedience but for those who desire to move even higher through Christ, we can also forgive to remove the opportunity Satan has to gain a foothold - not just in our lives - but in the lives of those who have hurt us.
Not only does Satan gain access to us through sinful, destructive emotions rooted in bitterness and anger, he also gains access to those who have hurt us through sinful, destructive emotions of guilt and shame. Through a higher love and supernatural forgiveness, not only will we help ourselves, we will also release the enemy's hold on those who have hurt us. Let us all disarm the enemy by doing the hard thing. Forgive, in Jesus’ name.