Colossians 3:12-15 “ Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Our Friday night Small Group Bible Study have been examining the biblical virtue of “Forgiveness” for the past month and have been blessed in the process of our lessons and open discussion. It’s easy to say the words; “I forgive you.”, but how can you know when you have truly forgiven from the heart? There is “going through the motions”, doing what you are supposed to be doing and there is the real deal naturally, so how can you tell the difference? By the peace that you experience. In Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” is not a command; rather it is an indicator. A lack of peace indicates that God’s Word has been disobeyed. In the opening verse, the word “rule” is an athletic term, which actually means “umpire”. If there are differences among believers, the peace of God will umpire our hearts. When relationships are broken between believers, it is because one or both are out of fellowship with God.
Ephesians 4:31-5:2 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
The lesson asks: Can you see that the more you comprehend the greatness of God’s forgiveness of you, the more you will love? And the more you love, the easier it will be to forgive? Remember, forgiveness is a matter of your will – the choice to obey God regardless of your emotions. As you choose to walk according to God’s Word, you will soon see your emotions come into live as well. Being like-minded to the Word and Will of God, aligned to the same standards. God’s standard is our standard, written upon our hearts, confessing and professing the same word.
True forgiveness of others will create a love that replaces hatred. When we speak of love, we aren’t talking about some warm fuzzy feeling, but about ‘action’, as imitators of God. Loving someone you’ve forgiven may be hard, but true forgiveness will make the sacrifice. Forgiveness and love are like conjoined twins sharing a single heart. Jesus longs to have fellowship with you and I. He forgives us and our forgiveness is to be like His. Hearts are healed, relationships restored, and bonds renewed and strengthened. Only the power of forgiveness unleashed can be about this kind of restoration and healing. Forgive as Christ forgave you.
In Christ, Brian