John 14:23 Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” Later we are going to have a whole week dedicated to obedience, but right now since it has been stirring in my heart, I really feel compelled to focus on unforgiveness.
The lessons we can learn from unforgiveness are directly linked to our love challenge. How can we confess our undying love for the Lord and strive to love Him more, yet harbor hate and bitterness in our hearts for His children?
“If you love me you will do what I command…My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 14:15, 15:13-14 (NIV)
One of the greatest challenges in my Christian life is loving Christ and living a life full of forgiveness. Throughout my life, forgiving others, and forgiving myself, can be one of my greatest struggles and also one of my greatest victories.
Forgiving others does not happen once, but daily. One way we grow in our love for Christ is by obeying His command to forgive. In Colossians 3:13 Paul writes, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love.” In the same way Christ forgives us daily, we are called to imitate His love and forgive those who wrong us—even when it’s hard. Forgiving as Christ forgave us means that we don’t wait for others to apologize, or wait for them to admit they are wrong, rather we choose to forgive because we love God and He commanded us to forgive.
Unforgiveness can harden our hearts and cripple our capacity to love-others, yourself and most importantly the Lord. In choosing to forgive, our lives will be filled with freedom, health, and joy.
As we get closer to Easter, pray that God would show where there is unforgiveness is your life. Jesus’ life gives us abundant life and the freedom to love and to forgive.
Lord Jesus, thank you so much for the gift of life. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. Thank you for your grace and mercy that enables you to forgive me over and over again. Today, and in the days to come, shine your spotlight on my heart and reveal to me any pocket of unforgiveness. Give me Your love and strength to generously forgive. Thank you for the promise that He who the Son sets free will be free indeed! Free me to love and to forgive. In the mighty name of Jesus Amen!