“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:12-13.
One of the reasons why the Bible is so relevant and timeless is because it gives us real-life examples and shows people who faced suffering and hard times just like we do today. But they were not victims. They found a way to forgive others who had wronged them. In doing so, they set the standard for overcoming tough times with the right heart and the right attitude. A good example is Joseph.
Joseph understood that God’s plan was bigger than his revenge. Joseph served a God that enabled him to love those who had sinned against him. Joseph was able to do this, not because they were inherently deserving or because he was inherently righteous. He was able to forgive because he understood that God’s providential hand had guided him to this point and that God’s plan was bigger than his hurt, just as it had been bigger than the jealousy that lead to that pain.
C.S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” You can forgive, you must forgive, and you will forgive when you remember just as God has forgiven you, you are to forgive others. In other words, if we sometimes need to receive forgiveness then we must always be willing to give forgiveness.
How do we forgive others as God has forgiven us? First of all, we are to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven. Most of us have people we are willing to forgive and people we are unwilling to forgive. In our minds, there are what we consider “unforgivable sins.” Thank God that’s not in His mind. We are to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven. We need to remember that Jesus didn’t die for a select group of people. He died for everyone. That includes those who have been good to us and those who have harmed us. Understanding what God did for us is the best way to learn how to forgive.
We serve a God who enables us to love and forgive others, not of our own power, but from God’s forgiveness which has radically changed our view of the world. Because Jesus loves, we love. Because He forgave, we forgive.
- What is God’s reason for forgiving us in your opinion?
- What type of forgiveness are we to extend to others according to Colossians 3:13? Why should we give up our right to hold grudges?