The Gift of Forgiveness
Webster defines gift as "something given to show friendship, affection, support." Using this definition, it seems
logical to give gifts only to those we love, not to those who hurt or abuse us. Yet Scripture clearly commands us to offer one of the greatest possible gifts—forgiveness—to those who mistreat us.
To forgive means "to give up all claims to punish or exact a penalty for an offense." No strings or conditions can be attached, or else it ceases to be a pardon. Ephesians 2:8-9 expands on this concept by contrasting the gift of salvation with works. Neither salvation nor forgiveness can be earned; both must be freely given. Just as God granted us forgiveness, which we did not deserve and could not earn, so we are to release every offender from any form of penalty.
Unforgiveness is emotional bondage that consumes minds with memories of offenses, distorts emotions with revenge, and fills hearts with churning unrest. Its tentacles reach deep into the soul, affecting both spiritual and physical health. But the one who chooses to put on love and offer forgiveness is ready to receive the peace of Christ. Let God's Word help you release hurt and anger into His caring hands—then watch as vengeful thoughts are transformed into praise and gratitude to the Lord.
Thankfully, the gift of pardon is not something we have to manufacture in ourselves. This present is wrapped in the love of God and tied with the red ribbon of Christ's sacrifice. It is freely given to us by the Savior, and our job is simply to pass it on to others.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
Join Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries as we intercede for our great nation. It is immensely important for believers to seriously consider where we are as a nation and understand the dangerous spiritual tide that is engulfing us. By clicking "Yes!" you are making the commitment to pray for our nation. In response to this pledge, we will be sending you a weekly e-mail to help you in this important endeavor. Each e-mail will include Scripture and prayer points to help unite us as a body of believers. There will be one e-mail per week for the 140 days, beginning July 5th.
Please click here to join this nationwide prayer effort.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.