Tag Archive for The Joy of Forgiveness

Relationship Lessons

We expect holidays to be perfect as they include time off work, fun, food, and being with people we love. But even during holidays, people are people, and unpleasant things happen. Love is a powerful force, and not always a comfortable one. When it is combined with the ups and downs of emotions, and the unpredictability of people, stressful situations occur.

Nothing is quite as stressful as having a blockage in a relationship with someone very close to our hearts, about whom we care deeply. When an incident disturbs this relationship, we can think of nothing else. But I’ve found that God teaches me a lot through such pain – a lot about myself, about love, and about trusting Him.

So, although I am no counselor or psychologist, let me share a couple of lessons I’ve learned during family holidays.

When conflicts arise, at times I’d swear I am totally blameless, only to see, through time and conversation, that I’ve thought and acted selfishly. It usually comes down to this: when I fail to turn my needs over to God, I am inevitably protective and selfish, although I may be blind to it at the time.

God is always with me, ready to meet even my most personal needs. When I commit those needs to Him, I am freed to be more flexible, loving, and giving in my relationships. I don’t need to demand my way, even when some need is crying within me. When loves calls me to give way to another’s wishes, I can do so in peace, resting my needs with Him.

However, sometimes painful occurrences in relationships truly aren’t my fault. I have been wronged. I am a victim. In trying to deal with the debilitating pain, I long for a restored relationship. I just want the other person to apologize, thus opening the way to restoration. If this one would just realize and admit error, everything could get back to normal.

But I’ve learned that the way to healing is not through receiving an apology, but through giving free forgiveness, even when it is not requested. Forgiveness breaks down the walls, relieving the painful tensions and bringing healing. And we always have the option of extending forgiveness. God gives us this freedom if we ask Him, and no wrong can take it away.

Forgiveness restores the joy, warmth, and rest to our hearts. The ability to extend forgiveness is yet another gift of His love working within us. We just need to turn to Him, admit our need, and trust Him.

His presence works to restore and renew our relationships, no matter what the problem, no matter who is at fault. 

As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14, NASB)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Joy of Forgiveness
Printed Music & Lyrics

Mercy, Not Judgment

“Forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:35, NIV). 

Jesus, I read the story you told in Matthew 18:21-35. I’m like that man. I owe You an overwhelming debt I can never repay.

But You are far less offended by my overwhelming debt than by my unforgiving attitude toward my fellow debtors. Forgive my pettiness, Lord. What others need from me is just one drop from the ocean of Your great mercy.

Merciful Jesus,
Full of compassion,
Patient, forbearing,
Quick to forgive,
Help me show others
Mercy, not judgment –
Kindness and gentleness.
Lord, make me like You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Joy of Forgiveness
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Unforgiving Servant

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 18:21-35

Jesus taught about forgiving others most vividly in His parable found in Matthew 18:21-35.

In the ancient world, slaves could become highly responsible and trusted members of the household, and thus a huge debt owed by a slave was plausible.

To understand “ten thousand talents” (v.24), consider this. One talent was what a laborer might earn in half a lifetime. The slave could not have paid this debt in five thousand lifetimes. Ten thousand talents was approximately three hundred tons of silver. But ten thousand was the largest numeral for which a Greek term exists, and a talent was the largest measure of money. Thus when Jesus, the master storyteller, talks about ten thousand talents, He is using the largest amount of money He could express. In our current slang, He might say that the servant owed a gazillion dollars.

The one hundred denarii owed by the second slave was only about three to four months wages, or 1/600,000 of the first servant’s debt. In asking for relief from his debt, the second slave used roughly the same words as the first (vv.26, 29). The response was different only because of the unforgiving heart of the servant.

In the end, their generous master would forgive a huge debt. But he would not forgive his servant’s refusal to share his generosity. The unforgiving servant wanted “justice,” so he got it.

Paul put the same teaching this way: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV).

But sometimes the wrongs done to us wound us on a deep, emotional level. We want to forgive, and perhaps we have forgiven on a rational level, but we continue to have ill feelings about the person who wronged us. If you struggle with this:

  • Pray sincerely for the person every time they come to mind.
  • Realize that the God you love, loves that person very much and understands them. Put their wrong on His account, and you will still owe Him more than you can ever pay.
  • Bitter, angry thoughts are Satan’s temptations, pure and simple. Refuse to embrace them. Pray for God’s help every time those feelings arise.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Joy of Forgiveness
Printed Music & Lyrics