A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 6)
The Forgiven Should Forgive
We forgive because we have been forgiven.
God expects us to show grace to others because he showed grace to us. He demonstrated his love by sending Christ to die for us, even though we were still in rebellion to him (Romans 5:8).
It’s easier sometimes to be selfish instead of gracious. You see the slow cashier at the grocery store as a five-minute interruption to your day rather than somebody who might be struggling to keep his job or just received horrible news a few minutes before.
You see someone in your family who’s struggling as a drain on you rather than seeing her hopelessness over a desperate situation. You see the person who cut you off on the freeway as a villain instead of someone in need of God’s love.
We’re all in need of God’s love. That’s why Jesus Christ came into this world. And to show people grace is to remember what God has done for us. The ultimate way God shows us grace is by forgiveness. And the ultimate way he asks us to show grace to others is also by forgiving them.
People often ask me, “How can I find the strength to forgive? I don’t have it in me.”
The truth is, I don’t have it in me, either! The only place I’ve ever found the strength to forgive is to remember how much Jesus has forgiven me. Through that reminder, he gives me the strength and grace to forgive others.
There’s a story about a woman named Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross. A friend reminded her of a particularly cruel thing somebody had done to her years before. The friend asked, “Don’t you remember?” Her famous reply was, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”
What do you need to forget? Who do you need to forgive? If you don’t forgive, you won’t be able to enjoy God’s vision for the rest of your life, because you’ll be stuck in the past. But when you forgive, you’ll be able to move on with your life.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean the person who wronged you was right. And it doesn’t make what that person did okay. You can forgive, and they still can face the consequences of what happened.
When forgiving someone seems impossible, remember one thing: Jesus forgave you.
Talk It Over
- How might resentment and bitterness keep you from fulfilling your purpose?
- What do you need to let go of so that, with God’s help, you can forgive and show grace to someone?
- What are some ways a person may be affected by your forgiveness?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.