Mercy? (05.09.19—A Forgiving Spirit!--Colossians 3: 12-14 )
My friend, may I ask you a question? Will there ever come a time when the thought of forgiving is repulsive us? When wrongs are so deep and the pain is so intense, could this be the time when God moves in and reminds us of our need to show compassion, even to those who, don’t seem to merit it.?
Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.
Did you ever wonder how God could be so forgiving? Perhaps the answer is best found at the foot of the cross. We look up in pity at our Savior, bleeding, slumped and dying. But, look again and see the sacrifice; face and body contorted by pain, He isn’t pretty to look at. Why? Simply, Christ alone has the ability to feel not only the whole world’s pain, but yours and mine individually. As He loved singly and wholly, He also suffered that way. Only through the taking on of another’s pain and suffering can a person truly be compassionate and forgiving-in this sense. Christ’s indwelling spirit gives us that ability, to contemplate suffering, grasp it within us, and then turn on the taps of compassion. This is His gift, a gift that we will often need in this life when forgiveness is hard to find and remembering the hurt is hard to forget.
Here's a story: “Byron Deel grew up with an alcoholic and abusive father. When he was 12, his father left, leaving the family with no support. Byron grew up bitter and angry. Sixteen years later, however, Byron’s aunt called him and said, his father was in a nearby hospital, close to death. It would mean something to him, she said, if he could come. Byron drove up to the hospital. He walked into the ICU and there was a seventy-one year old man, connected to monitors, tubes inserted into his body, surrounded by medical equipment. As Byron saw his dad lying there, helplessly dying, all the years of hatred and anger melted away. He walked over and stood by the bedside. The man opened his eyes, saw Byron, and began to cry. Byron wept as well. He spent that day and the next with his dad, and was surprised to find that he had a lot of feeling for the man as he observed his dad's suffering. ‘The burden that he had been carrying around for years, without realizing it, had gone away, replaced by compassion. (Robert J. Morgan)
Doubtless in your life you will run into someone like Byron’s father. Perhaps there is someone in your own family. Regardless, there will come a time when the very thought of forgiving is repulsive. When wrongs are so deep and the pain is so intense, this is the time when God moves in and reminds us of our need to show compassion, even to those who, don’t seem to merit it. Yet our God loves each one of us in this manner and instructs us to love others likewise. This isn't easy and not always pleasant, yet if we are to find the healing that can only come through forgiveness and not through forgetting alone, there is only one way to go; we need to crawl inside that person and find the source of compassion that God has most certainly put there. We must also reach inside our hearts and grasp the image of the suffering and forgiving Christ. There we will find forgiveness that surpasses all understanding, replacing bitterness with compassion.
We pray. Lord, we thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved us enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so we could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to us in spite of our faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14) Help us demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt us. Father, may Your sweet words saturate our minds and direct our thoughts. Help us release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. If we can be forgiven, so can those who hurt us. We understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish. In Jesus Name. Amen!
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