Forgiveness. It is a nice word, isn’t it? It is warm. Comforting. You know- when it is extended to us that is. When we are asked to
extend it to another though, it gets a bit uncomfortable.
Forgiveness has been at the forefront of my mind and heart lately and as in most things God calls forth in my life, I am finding His standard of forgiveness runs higher, deeper, and longer than I thought.
This morning, God led me to Colossians 3 and there was forgiveness once again.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-15
I turned to the original language and began breaking the passage down word by word. (Some people scrapbook. Some run marathons. I am a word nerd. This is what does it for me. Don’t judge.) Here is what I found- the passage is a rich playbook of sorts on how to love and get along with each other especially when the other person isn’t exactly a piece of cake.
But the part on forgiveness…that was the part that took my breath away. When the verse says to “forgive” it means “to pardon” or cancel out the debt. A few words later, the word “grievance” means “blame”. When we forgive we pardon the other person from blame in the matter.
I have been watching humanity and attempting to be honest about my own heart as well and here is what I have noticed- We love to lay blame. Love it. (Don’t believe me? Watch any episode of reality TV. Then go take a bath. Seriously. You will need it.) I think it may just be what comes natural to us, but Jesus is asking us to do what doesn’t come naturally. He is asking us to cancel out the blame of our brothers and sisters and He makes a very good case for His expectation of us at the end of verse 13…We were to blame and He canceled our debt. He did it first.
How can I argue with that? Oceans and oceans of grace have washed over me- all of the good things I should have done but didn’t, all of the rotten things I shouldn’t have done, thought, and said but…did. I was certainly to blame but Jesus pardoned them all.
So today I will take a deep breath and extend His grace to the “hard-to-love” in my life. I will offer grace instead of blame, dignity instead of shame. May the Spirit of God empower me with His love as I seek to forgive as He has so abundantly forgiven me.