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orgiveness. Everyone needs it but  thresholds, the score just keeps climbing
             few offer it, which means there are  and the world gets uglier.
        F Fmany people moving through life     In addition to letting go of the desire for
        without the peace of being forgiven or the   personal retaliation, we must avoid the
        joy of being forgiving. When we forgive   expectation that God will retaliate for us.
        we have the privilege of doing something   It’s easy to quote, “Vengeance is mine; I will
        God does every hour of every day, and as   repay, saith the Lord” (Rom 12:19 KJV), and
        forgiven people He expects us to do just   like Jonah, sit and wait for it to happen.
        that (Eph 4:32).
          The  most  common  NT  word  for     In some ways, the second part of Paul’s
        forgiveness (Greek  aphiemi)  means  “to   exhortation (“always pursue what is good
        let go.”  So what exactly are we to let   for one another and all”) is more difficult.
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        go in extending forgiveness? In order to   If our offender is a Christian, remember
        genuinely forgive someone we must first   that we are in the same family; he is my
        let go of the demand for repayment. When   brother in Christ. If the offender is an
        someone sins against us, we must resist the   unbeliever, he is still made in the image of
        demand that we receive from the person   God. Focusing on these realities may make
        what we feel we deserve, whether it is a   it easier to want what is good for those
        contrite  confession  (accompanied  with   who have sinned against us. We are well
        the proper amount of tears) or a heartfelt   on the way to completely forgiving when
        promise to change. Forgiveness is wholly  we actually desire good for our offender
        an act of grace. The Lord Jesus absorbed  rather than evil.
        the pain of our sins in order to forgive us,   Third, we must let go of the destructiveness
        and we must be willing to do the same with  of resentment. Peter spoke about the “gall”
        one another.                         or “poison” (ISV) of bitterness (Act 8:23).
          Second,  we  must  let  go  of  the  desire  Centuries later, Saint Augustine would say,
        for  retaliation.  Paul  wrote,  “See  that  no  “Resentment is like drinking poison and
        one pays back evil for evil to anyone,  waiting for the other person to die.” Few
        but always pursue what is good for one  things are more destructive to a believer
        another and for all” (1Th 5:15 NET). Stop   than clinging to the poisonous spirit of
        entertaining fantasies of exacting revenge   unforgiveness.
        on your offender. Give up the crusade to   Even if your offender refuses to
        even the score because the score will never   acknowledge wrong or has no desire to
        be even. By “getting even” we actually   reconcile with you, there is still an extent
        multiply the amount of evil in the world,   to which you can forgive because there are
        and because everyone  has  a  different
        scale of justice as well as different pain   many things you can let go.
        ¹ Joseph Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of   So let it go. God did … and does. You’ll
        the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson,   be healthier, holier and happier. And the
        1995).                               world around you just might be too.

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