2019-06-03 - Rhetorical Question
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 6:14-15 NIV)
I tend to ask myself the same rhetorical question: How often do I forgive someone, when it's a matter of time before that someone hurts me again? I hope against hope that God's answer will change, given my circumstance, or perhaps I didn't understand the Bible correctly.
The Bible is clear. I am to forgive. Mark 11:25 states, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (NIV. See also Matthew 18:21-35)
I admit my forgiveness isn't always heartfelt toward this particular family member. I am not helping myself when I let anger get the best of me. I tend to automatically respond in anger, especially when the guilty party has not repented. How can I stop bitterness from taking root?
The best way to get victory over bitterness and unforgiveness is to change my reaction to them. We are to replace bitterness, rage, and anger with compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:31-2) God pours out His forgiveness and mercy onto us. Likewise, we are to demonstrate the same mercy.
Lord, Show me how love and compassion can become an automatic response to injustices, knowing You're my defender. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
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All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.