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Week 19: “Be kind and forgive one another”
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Who has hurt you the most? It was probably someone close to you. The deepest wounds come from those who have made their way deepest into our hearts. Maybe you don’t feel deep wounds, just a thousand little “cuts” that accumulate over time. Whatever the case, the standard for how we are to deal with others is high. We are to forgive as, in Christ, God forgave us. What does this mean exactly? Well, it doesn’t mean we can bear the sins of others, only Christ can do that. It doesn’t mean we can forget what others do to us. It doesn’t mean that we cannot protect ourselves from others who might want to continue to wound us. Then what does it mean? It means we do not continually hold the sins of others against them. So, in our words and actions we do not attempt to bring them harm in any way. In our hearts we release their sin and our hurt to God, so that if we had the power to “pay them back,” we would not do so. You can forgive a person and still not trust them in every way. Forgiveness is related to past actions, trust is related to future reliability. This does not mean we are to say to others, “I forgive you, but I will never trust you again.” In that case, you would be playing the role of God, but the future is not yours to predict or to declare. When asked and when appropriate, you must be prepared to simply say, “I forgive you.” In your heart, they are forgiven. You must let grace “marinate your mind” in your view of them, but in your actions you are responsible. You must let wisdom guide your choices. If someone has stabbed you in the back, you would be wise to not turn your back towards them, but, at the same time, you must not harden your heart towards them.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.