How often is it that
we want appeasement for the wrong someone has dealt us?
It’s a fact: all people make mistakes and those mistakes
become failures if there is no forgiveness. God never taught us
to forget our sins; He just didn’t want us to keep holding
it against each other. Our bitterness will turn us into failures
if we don’t put these things behind us, which is what God
wants us to do. Ephesians 4:31-32. KJV.
We seldom realize the failures and frailties of ourselves when eyeing someone else’s mistakes or sins. We blame others for our own disappointments and defeats, holding on to resentments and bitterness. Our joy is lost and forgiveness, as we proclaim it, becomes an act of self-centered self-protection; We forgive with conditions and try to get answers from the other person ourselves. The search for their true identity is lost when we simply look in the faulty body that made the mistakes in the first place. We too easily forget that we all think, say and do things at times which we are not proud of, but if somebody does something which we perceive to be against ourselves (whether or not it was ever intended that way), we take offence.
The Bible tells us to rejoice always in everything we do. Philippians 3:1; 4:4. If we are truly doing what we are supposed to be doing (suffering with Christ), we wouldn’t be always considering ourselves first. Why do we tend to assume that the Christian life should always be 'plain sailing' when we are never promised this? Philippians 1:29-30. There should be nothing to get in the way of our living in joy for being a Christian. Rather, we might ask: “What is God beginning to mold within me, and am I resisting this by my slowness to forgive?” Our answer should be: “I want to be just like you, Jesus.”
When we see ourselves as we really are, we realize God controls our circumstances, our heredity, our inheritance, our human quality. He knows everything that is happening in our lives. Psalm 139. Our nature and bodies are constantly changing, but God never changes. Malachi 3:6. And we would have no eternal life without the forgiving grace of God. No one can expect forgiveness if it is not given to the one who has harmed them; Jesus laid down His life for us while we were still His enemies (we had not yet been reconciled to God).
We need to remember, that God’s answers are different from the ones we might want, and He’s the one that is the leader in what’s right. Proverbs 8:18, 19, 20. The way that we think things should be, often can’t be so, within His perfect wisdom; He has all knowledge and He inhabits eternity, therefore we must learn to trust His choices in our lives even if they are not choices which we would have made! Meanwhile, In forgiving someone, it means recognizing Jesus in that person. It is forgiving that person before even confronting them. The Bible says it is not wrong to privately confront a person over the wrong done to you, and if they repent, forgive them. Luke 17:3. Yet even if that person keeps hurting us and asking forgiveness, we are told to forgive. We are never more like Jesus than when we forgive someone.
His work is constantly interceding for us; God wants to bring us peace and joy for His glory; but we always need to remind ourselves that God's great purpose in us is not to bring us satisfaction and ease in this present life but to equip us and mold us for eternity. If we know this, we won't be surprised by trials or disappointments! Sometimes when we can’t seem to find God's peace, it is because there are problems in our prayer life. We are encouraged to replace anxiousness with prayer, but to only pray for needs in an attitude of thankfulness: Philippians 4:6-7.
Tina Ray and Robin Brace