Thank you for reading Standing Firm, a weekly men's devotional written by Dennis Wingfield for Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 22:34
Jesus was an innocent man. He was guilty of no crime. Nevertheless, He was arrested, beaten, scourged and nailed to a cross. Near death, Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father to forgive His persecutors. Jesus showed forgiveness and mercy to those who unjustly crucified Him. We are to do what He has done.
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28
We are called to live a life of forgiveness and mercy like Christ. Can you forgive the one that has injured you so deeply? Can you forgive your spouse in the midst of your suffering and pain? Many in the body of Christ suffer needlessly because they have unforgiveness in their heart toward someone who has hurt them. As God as forgiven us for our sins, we are to forgive those who have sinned against us.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
Extending forgiveness to one that has hurt you does not mean that you are condoning their behavior. There are consequences to sin and forgiveness does not erase those consequences. By forgiving another, you are releasing all your bitterness and anger toward that person. Holding grudges and unforgiveness is a heavy cross to bear. It will enslave you. By extending forgiveness, your burden is lifted and you can live in freedom.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
We are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. It takes a humble and contrite heart to admit our failings and ask God for forgiveness. But God only forgives and extends His mercy when we admit our need. You need to grow daily in humility and gratitude, to acknowledge your need for God’s infinite mercy. There is no life apart from Him. When we have unforgiveness in our heart, we build a barrier in our relationship to God. We close off access to His mercy. When we forgive others, the floodgates of God’s mercy open to pour forth healing for others, as well as ourselves.
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14
God’s grace was poured out on you through the death of His Son on the cross. Christ demonstrated His love for you by dying on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus is calling you to love as He has loved:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
Be a channel of God’s forgiveness and mercy to your spouse. Let go of all bitterness, anger and resentment. Forgive your spouse. Allow God’s forgiveness and to reach the one who has wounded you. If you refuse to forgive another, you are withholding from them what God has so freely given you. To do so would be hypocrisy of the worst kind. Read the story of the wicked servant in Matthew 18:23-35. Do not be like that man who refused to forgive as he had been forgiven.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:35
The true Christian, the real disciple, even when deeply hurt, must turn to Jesus and ask, “What would you have me do? How do I love this person as you would in these circumstances?”
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:12, 16-17
If you cannot find it in your heart to forgive your spouse, ask God to soften your heart. Ask Him to bless you with eyes to see your spouse as He sees her. God so desires to give you the grace to forgive but you must ask Him to give it to you. Relationships are healed when we extend forgiveness to the one who has hurt us. Forgiveness melts hardened hearts.
God loves you beyond compare. He has forgiven you; you in turn are to extend that same forgiveness and mercy to all who have offended you. May it be so. Come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:2
God bless you, my Brother.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35