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Freedom in Forgiveness

Last week I was filling out an application on-line for my son to get scholarships for college. Some of the blocks to write in said “not optional” and some said “optional.” It would not let me continue the application until I filled in all the “not optional” boxes. The next day, I was reading through the book of 1 John and my experience on the computer from the night before came rushing back into my mind.

1 John 2:9-11 has a “not optional” box. If we do not obey it, we will not be able to continue to mature in our faith. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him.”

Nearly all of us at some point have been deeply hurt by another person. Often times, the deepest wounds come from family members, close friends, or our spouse. Perhaps you are currently struggling with someone who is difficult to forgive. God says that forgiving others is not optional. In order to continue to mature in our faith, we need to love others by forgiving them. If we refuse to do this, then the apostle John says that we are still living in darkness. But as we choose to forgive the person by faith, then nothing will cause us to stumble. This does not mean that we have to FEEL love, acceptance, and forgiveness towards the person. It means that we choose by an act of our will, in faith, to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.

Pray and ask the Lord to enable you to have the power to forgive even those who have hurt you in deep ways. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if there is anyone whom He wants you to forgive and then in obedience, pray and forgive this person. Ask the Lord if this is enough or if He wants you to personally go to the person to forgive them.

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