Christians, last time we talked about forgiveness and the things people have done that have wronged us. Hopefully if you prayed and forgave someone, you could think about them now, and you have feelings of freedom, peace, resolution in your soul. I pray that as you truly forgive, God gives you not just a passion to forgive others, but compassion for the ones who have wronged you. I pray that you want to see them in right standing with God, and that you would actually be willing to minister to them, if God opened the door.
This time, I would like to talk more about the daily practicality of keeping the “slate clean”. Hopefully the first post, helped you look at the BIG offenses in your life, the ones that are really difficult to forgive. Now, I would like to look at how many of us recognize that there are opportunities to extend forgiveness DAILY in varying degrees of severity, that we also must be aware of to stay inline with the Word of God.
The teaching I mentioned last time, also referenced the Lord’s prayer as a source for direction on forgiveness. We have all prayed, “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (or however the translation in your bible reads Matthew 6:12). The pastor extrapolated the word AS in the original Greek, stating IN THE SAME WAY. We are asking God to forgive US the SAME WAY we FORGIVE OTHERS. If I want God to do this, then I must examine HOW I forgive others. As I meditated on this, I realized that I did not have the big grievous offenses, but I had a BUNCH of little offenses on the slate from a variety of sources, and varying degrees of seriousness, from semi serious to absolutely ridiculous.
Think of a family member, someone you think you have a pretty good relationship, someone you would say you have nothing against. What annoys you about them? If you could say, well, they have a tendency to….or they one time did this little thing, or said this comment, or questioned me this way, or commented on a Facebook picture and I am not sure what they meant, but I think they may have been slighting me, but I didn’t say anything, but I thought about saying something on their picture where it could be interpreted the same way….whoa. Ok. Easy.
What about a co-worker, you get along with, but then they relayed something to the boss that you thought was said in confidence, and you don’t think they did it maliciously, you really feel that it was wrong and now you don’t trust them because they messed up before.
Or what about your spouse, you love them, you live with them, but what is the last thing they did that upset you. Was it a comment, a dish on the counter you just cleared, a pair of clothes on the floor, or something on your to do list they forgot, something they did with the kids?
Often we look at big grievances on our scorecard and we realize we need to deal with forgiveness in those areas, but if we look closely, we may have little “notes” scribbles on the corners of our board. Don’t trust them, don’t invite them, don’t share with them, they did this, they did that. We may not think we need to forgive them, but if we think about our next interaction with a spouse, family member, co worker, boss, friend, or even strangers in public. We could see that our interaction with them, will be shaped and formed by the things we still have on the slate from our last interaction notes. When we Forgive people, we wipe the slate CLEAN and OFTEN.
When I was reflecting on this, it brought up many different people in my mind. I thought about my opinion of them, our interactions, my thoughts about them. I realized, If I want God to forgive me the SAME WAY I forgive others, then I want a COMPLETELY CLEAN slate each and every time I interact with God. I want to come to Him and have Him look at me as though I have done nothing wrong that would skew or interfere with this interaction with Him. When I started to think like that, I started to wipe slates clean of things that really, were minor things, but things that have just added up over years of ignoring the small things. It doesn’t mean I am perfect now, but I realize, that I want complete and quick forgiveness, so I need to give complete and quick forgiveness.
Have you ever messed up, and you felt like you couldn’t come to God, not because He was making you feel bad, but you felt like whatever you did, even if you repented, and asked for forgiveness, that God was looking at your current request in the light of your last mistake? I know I have. I have thought, how can I ask God for this, when I messed up yesterday, I know I repented, but still, it was yesterday, it’s still pretty fresh in my mind, so why would He have forgotten it?
I think that MY understanding of forgiveness stems from my ability to forgive and forget. I can forgive pretty easy, but the forgetting, I have a good memory of wrongs, you know, just in case anyone thinks they can mess with me again. I can recall and recount the wrongs against me, the accounts owed, and I could just put them in their place if they really wanted to get down to brass tacks. How WRONG that mentality is, I now look at my life and say, I want to DAILY wipe everyone’s slate clean!
People who say things without thinking, people who annoy me, strangers who cut me off in traffic, co-workers who wrong me, Church members, neighbors, pastors, family, friends, preachers, teachers. I want to walk around without any sort of offense in my heart and it is hard because the enemy constantly brings up what people do and tries to get it to offend us. We have received so much grace, mercy and forgiveness, how could we NOT extend it to others?! Jesus also says to do it today, quickly, not to delay.
Father God, we pray that we would give everyone a clean slate, the way you have given us a clean slate, not just today, not just yesterday, but also for tomorrow. We know that while we are on this earth, the opportunity to be offended, upset, or irritated will persist, but that it is just new opportunities to extend grace and mercy to others, and show how your Kingdom has come, and your will is being done, on earth as it is in heaven, we pray this in Jesus name, Amen.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (John 13:34 NLT)
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19 (NLT)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:30-32 (NIV)
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:9-15 (NLT)
written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2018