Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The Greek word translated as forgive in the New Testament means to “cancel a debt”: to wholly cancel the punishment; to relieve from guilt or suffering; to pardon. When God requires us to forgive with the same measure that He forgave us, He’s not talking about mere words. Through Jesus, God wholly canceled our punishment and relieved us from suffering for it. This is how we are to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ. God squeezes every possible use out of our obedience…and so, by His grace, forgiveness brings freedom to our own hearts, as well as lifting our weight from others.
Our forgiveness is also required in order to keep the body of Christ functioning. A body that attacks itself cannot live. It would be foolishness for us to teach care for our bodies, and then go around purposefully slamming our hands and feet in doors. That is how ridiculous it is to be at war with our brothers and sisters in Christ. God’s design for us, as His people, was that we would be at our most healthy, functional, and powerful…. together. We must be purposed in forgiving each other, completely, as Jesus forgives us.
- Spend some time reflecting on all you have been forgiven of. Meditate on the freedom you feel from Jesus’s forgiveness. Think on the freedom and health that forgiveness brings to your life.
- Do you have any relationships within the body of believers, where you are harboring resentment or unforgiveness? Take those to the Lord and read His Word (some biblical guidelines are in the devo plus) to see how you should proceed in mending those relationships.
- Jesus, our beautiful Redeemer, help us not to take for granted the forgiveness we have been given. I ask that You use that awareness to draw our hearts toward forgiving others quickly and completely. Guide us in the areas or with the people where this is especially hard, and give us understanding and opportunity to live together as you designed your body to live: hand in hand, and healthy. In the graceful name of Jesus, amen.
- Read Matthew 18:15-17 to see the instructions God gave us in order to handle conflict in a practical and pleasing way.
- Read Psalm 103:10-14.