As Christ Forgave You
Read Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
What reason did Paul cite for forgiving others? Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?
Ask any kid why they hit their sibling and chances are you will hear, “They deserved it. They were bugging me,” or, “They hit me first.” It’s our sinful human nature to desire to pay people back evil for evil. We want them to hurt like we have been hurt. We want to give them a taste of their own medicine. We want them to get what was coming to them. They deserve it!
The question is, what do we deserve and did God give us what was coming to us? According to the book of Romans, all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). That sin required that we get paid back with death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Praise the Lord! He has NOT given us what was coming for us. Instead, he gave us mercy and grace and forgiveness. In the place of death, He gave us underserved life!
In Psalm 103, verses 10-12, King David praised God for His loving-kindness. He wrote, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
In today’s verse, the apostle Paul charged the Ephesians to forgive as Christ forgave. He said that we are to treat each other like Jesus treated us—with kindness, compassion, and mercy. So whatever grudge you are holding against someone else, Scripture commands that you let it go. Scripture tells us to forgive.
You might be thinking, “But Pastor Nat, you don’t know how badly I’ve been treated. You don’t know what they did to me. They don’t deserve it. They haven’t apologized. They haven’t repented. They aren’t sorry.” And I understand that. They probably don’t deserve it. They might not be sorry. They may not have apologized.
But as Christians, we have been called to follow Him. Our job is to reflect Christ to the world. When did He pay the price for your sin? When you deserved it? When you asked for it? When you repented? When you were sorry?
No. Romans 5:8 reminds us that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We were still dead in our sins when Christ chose to suffer in our place. He took the death that we deserved and before we had even said we were sorry for all of the ways that we sinned against a holy God.
It is Jesus’ extraordinary act of loving-kindness that was meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). His compassion and sacrifice was meant to draw us to Him, to seek the forgiveness and mercy that He had already offered. Before we asked, before we were sorry, and before we repented, He paid the price we owed.
Friends, I know this is easier said than done. I know that many of you have been deeply hurt by people you trusted. But I have found that shifting the focus from the sins of others to my own sin helps me to be able to offer to others the incredible mercy that Jesus has extended to me. Today, I encourage you to forgive others as Jesus Christ has forgiven you. Who knows, maybe the reflection of His loving-kindness in you will lead others to repentance and to seek the mercy of Jesus Christ?
Jesus, thank You for Your forgiveness. I am so grateful that You do not deal with me according to my sins. Lord, it isn’t easy to extend forgiveness to others but I know it’s what You have asked of me. Help me to let go of my hurt and offer others what You have offered me—mercy, grace, and compassion. Amen.