One of the many important aspects of love is forgiveness. In any relationship, if forgiveness is not given and received, the chance of it surviving diminishes. Unforgiveness begins to creep in and bitterness takes hold. What is forgiveness? Wikipedia defines forgiveness as the intentional and voluntary process by which one who may initially feel victimized, undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding a given offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance (however justified it might be). Forgiveness is a voluntary decision, not a feeling. If we go by our feelings, then forgiveness may not be possible.
God forgives us through His Son, Jesus, to give us an opportunity to have a relationship with Him. God has not held our poor choices over our head, but His forgiveness allows us to enjoy a relationship with Him. John 3:16 is a passage most followers of Christ are familiar with and it is the epitome of love. "For God so loved the world that He gave." Forgiveness cannot be granted without giving. The word "give" is in the word forgive. We have to set aside our our pride, feelings, and hurts to offer forgiveness and give grace.
In every relationship, there are times when we are hurt or disappointed by the other person. When we decide to forgive, we are saying, "I love you regardless of what you did or said." That commitment to the relationship is a choice and a decision to love. Is there someone you need to forgive today to show the love of God? Many times forgiveness can not be accomplished by ourselves. We must ask God to help us forgive. When we give forgiveness, it shows others who God is in us.
In Luke chapter 7, starting in verse 36, the story is told about a woman, known for adultery and prostitution, who anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. The religious leaders thought Jesus had done something wrong by letting a sinful woman touch his feet. Jesus offered this woman forgiveness and told the religious leaders that those who have been forgiven much, love much.
Have you been forgiven much? If you have received forgiveness from God through Christ, then you have been forgiven much. Then we must love much by forgiving others.
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