Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. COLOSSIANS 3:13
Forgiveness is one of the hardest acts God calls us to do. As wickedness in the world increases, the levels of offense increase, making forgiveness even harder. To truly walk in forgiveness of these offenses takes much prayer and even counsel to move beyond the offense.
I often focus more on the second half of this verse, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” and the overwhelming quality of that concept almost paralyzes me. “How can I forgive that offense?” “It hurts so much.” “They will just do it again.” “It will not change anything.” These are some of the mantras I repeat in my thoughts, and I often do nothing to move past the offense.
However, if instead of focusing on the second half of the verse, I focus on bearing with others, then walking in forgiveness isn’t so overwhelming. Not because it lessens the offense, but because it causes my heart to begin to soften toward others and to the things of God. (Please note that “bearing with others” may or may not apply to the offender.)
I like to think of bearing with others in terms of extending grace to them. Yes, they just did something that could cause me to be offended, but I am going to think the best of them and offer grace. And even though grieved, I am not going to seek justice in this matter, but release them from the debt I believe they owe me and trust God to deal with them. On the day He was crucified, Jesus Christ bore the burden of our sins and offenses on His physical body. Through His Spirit, we can bear with those around us and move toward forgiveness and beyond the offense.
Action Item: When someone offends you, are you quick to seek justice for that offense, or are you quick to bear with them and extend grace? Throughout the day today, bear with others and intentionally extend grace to all those around you.
Becky is a popular FP4H speaker and currently serves as a non-profit consultant to Christ-centered ministries, primarily in the pro-life movement. Before Christ, Becky Turner had made a complete mess of her life – relationally, financially, and, especially, spiritually. In 1992, when she came to the end of herself and cried out to God, He graciously swooped in and lifted her out of the pit of her own making and set her feet on a solid Rock. Since that time, the Lord has done an amazing work as bit by bit and inch-by-inch; He has delivered, transformed, and renewed Becky to become the woman of God she is today. Read Becky’s success story here: Becky’s Story