Motive for Forgiveness
29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. —Ephesians 4:29-30
Do you know what Paul is talking about in these verses? He’s spelling out a compelling reason why we ought to be in the forgiving business every day of our lives. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ; if you have acknowledged and repented of your sin and received the Gospel—the good news of your forgiveness—by faith in Jesus Christ, then something amazing has happened to you and in you. If you’re born again, if you are saved, one of the things the Bible promises is that the Holy Spirit has come to live within you. Do you believe that? That you are sealed with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13-14). Part of God’s gift to you is Himself! The Holy Spirit is God’s down-payment on everything you’re going to get in heaven. When you gave your life to Christ, He gave the Holy Spirit to you.
Now, He’s never leaving. When Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5), He was talking about the ministering presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. And when the Scripture says “do not grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you were sealed,” the point is that the Holy Spirit can’t go anywhere. He’s not leaving. Everywhere you go? He goes. Everything you say? He hears. Everything you feel? He bears with. And when we’re unforgiving, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
The word grieve there is lupeo; it means “to wound” or “to injure.” We grieve the Spirit of God when we hold un-forgiveness and cultivate bitterness in our hearts. The Spirit of God who came to be resident within us can’t go anywhere. And so He has to live alongside these damaging, destructive, and sinful choices that we make. He has to witness as we hang on to our injury and disappointment with people instead of displacing it and releasing it through forgiveness. And that’s why Scripture warns,
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” A desire to retain the fellowship with God’s Spirit should be what motivates our willingness to forgive others. His presence is a continual reminder that Christ has forgiven us.
· How does thecontinual presence of God’s Spirit in my life affect my planning and actions?
· When was the last situation in which I forgave someone because I remembered the amazing thing that Christ has actually forgiven me?
Father, forgive me for those moments when I take Your forgiveness for granted instead to taking it as amazing grace! Thank You for Your Spirit’s abiding presence. Teach me to recognize when I’m about to grieve You and point me in the direction to run from those attitudes and actions. And thank You again for Your forgiveness in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.