We all have people in our lives who have offended us. God calls us to forgive them. In fact, He says if we do not forgive them, He will not forgive us. It’s a big deal. So, how do we do that?
The Lord’s prayer which Jesus taught his disciples to pray, begins with a focus on our Heavenly Father. We pray for His name to be honored as Holy; then we recognize the Kingdom over which He reigns and pray for it to come. We pray for His perfect will to be done, not ours. We pray for all of those things because we recognize who He is and we honor and worship Him as our Father God.
Next, we pray for things that pertain to ourselves; things that He alone can do for us and give to us. We acknowledge that He is our provider, our forgiver, our deliverer, He is over all. Everything we have comes from our Father, we cannot do anything apart from Him.
If we understand the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, we will understand how it is that God expects us to be forgivers.
The Apostle Paul tells us that if we have been raised up with Christ, our lives are hidden in Christ. Like John the Baptist, we have decreased and Christ has increased. We have the attributes of Jesus; we are holy and beloved, compassionate, kind, meek, patient, and humble.
The only way someone offends us is if we make it about us and if we make it about us, that’s pride. What it is that is offended is our feelings; our pride. If we know who we are, and in Whom we are hidden, then we will not consider ourselves, our pride or our feelings when someone says something offensive. We will love and honor God and we will love the one that offends us, just like Jesus did.
That is how Jesus lived his life here on earth. He was so focused on His Father that He never took things personally, or pridefully. He just loved His Father and kept his focus on Him and the purpose for which He was sent here, and He loved the one who was offensive. In fact, He loved him when He spit on his face, when He was brutally flogged by him, when He was nailed by him on the cross. Jesus did not take their offenses personally, He saw the offenders’ actions for what they are, sin. And some of his final words were, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
May I be so humble, and so loving of God and of others that I live like Jesus did, focused on the holiness of my Father in Heaven, and so grateful for who I am in Christ that I don’t allow other’s sin to offend me. After all, I am an offender and I am forgiven.
Colossians 3:1-3; 12-13 says: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God… Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.