Tuesday, July 8, 2014

31 Days of Joy: Forgive Often

“When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor
 out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that 
the real prisoner was yourself."” 
― Lewis B. Smedes

Forgive often.

We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us. Forgiveness is a choice, and is not always easy for us. It's not a one-time choice and then we no longer have to deal with it. Forgiveness may require a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord. We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart. The best reason to forgive is because Jesus commanded us to forgive. We learn from Scripture, if we don't forgive, neither will we be forgiven. We also forgive so that our prayers will not be hindered. The best reason to forgive is out of obedience to the Lord. It is a choice, a decision we make. However, as we forgive, we discover the command is in place for our own good, and we are the one who ultimately receive the reward of our forgiveness—freedom.

Focus Scriptures:
Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive
as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"  Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

Luke 6:3-7
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in
heaven may forgive you your sins.

Joy in Action Today:
 Prayer is the best ways to break down the walls of unforgiveness in the heart. Talk to God
about what has happened and ask Him to heal your heart. Pray for the strength to forgive.