Christmas Wish List: ForGIVEness
Posted by Lane Corley
One of the many promises of Christmas was that Jesus would “give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77).
Forgiveness is a gift of God paid for by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (see Ephesians 1:7). It’s given freely to those who put faith in His finished work for their salvation (Acts 10:43). Further defining this word gets us to the reason its such a great gift. The word can actually mean pardon, release from captivity, and freedom and is translated like this in other Biblical passages (Luke 4:18; Colossians 1:13-14). When we put our faith in Christ, forgiveness of our sins becomes reality, releasing us from the bondage of sin and setting us free to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).
Many of us don’t have a problem with God’s forgiveness and our need of it. The problems come when we have to live this out in our relationships. And we must!
“if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.” Matthew 6:14-15
“be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32
“bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” Colossians 3:13
This past Sunday, as part of our Grace and Truth Message series at Bridge Church, we proposed an exercise to get free, or begin to get free, from relational conflict through forgiveness. This was a personal challenge as this year has been a tough year relationally for me. This challenge has helped me gain freedom from the onset of bitterness.
Steps to Forgiveness:
“forgive as God forgave you” Colossians 1:13
>> List three sins that God has forgiven me for:
>> List three sins that others have forgiven me for:
>> Make a list of people I’m harboring resentment, anger, or unforgiveness towards:
Love… pray for…” Matthew 5:44 “do good to…” John 6:27
>> What good can I do for them? How can I pray for them this week?
Resentment, anger, unforgiveness grows in marriages, in churches, in extended families, in workplaces. Identifying and extending the gift of release to others sets us free to love and live.
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