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Devotionals

Victory Through Forgiveness – I Can Only Imagine

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

“For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

The way to victory is through forgiveness. Without Jesus first forgiving us, we would have no grounds to forgive. Now we have no excuse. How can we expect to be forgiven if we do not forgive.

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

It doesn’t matter how bad the act everything is able to be forgiven. Forgiveness doesn’t say, “It’s okay what you did.” It says, “I am going to release you into God’s hands, and make it possible for you to see the Love of God through this act of forgiveness, must like what Jesus did for me, and maybe you will forgive yourself in the process and turn from your sins.” It takes the person off of your hook, and leaves them on God’s to deal with. You also rid yourself of bitterness.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another,forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

It can be hard to forgive, but remember, God forgave you for the inexcusable, and we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) He expects us to do the same. Even Gandhi got the idea of forgiveness.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

In the movie “I Can Only Imagine,” a son is faced with his horrible past, and only when he does that can he move forward. His dream was to sing for God; however, there was something was stopping him from fully doing that – un-forgiveness. You cannot do a work for God, unless you get the concept of forgiveness and get bitterness out of your life.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

There are a lot of things that happen in life that sometimes we bury so it doesn’t’ affect us again, but it will always come back to haunt us. You cannot grow as a person unless you deal with each growing pain that comes along. There’s a reason they call it growing pains. It’s not a fun process, but it’s necessary. I did not have the best of times growing up, but eventually God led me to forgive the people that had hurt me most, and I am a happier person because of it. I was able to see how God forgave me, through forgiving others.

Bart, the main character in the movie, finally forgave his father, and in the process he was able to write a hit song that came from the heart, and that in turn gave other people hope. He caused Mercy Me to become successful because of his obedience to God. This movie really is a must see, it speaks of the reality of Hope and Redemption through the power of Jesus Christ. There is no situation that is impossible ….

The whole point of Easter – the gospel of Jesus Christ, is forgiveness. Forgiveness is an extension of God’s love. If God loved us first, first we must love Him, but we should also extend that love to others so they might know him. There is nothing we could do to earn this love – just accept it. A child can disappoint a parent over and over, but there should be nothing that they can do to stop a mother or a father from loving them. Because from the moment they are born, instantly you love them before they ever have a chance to love you back. It is an unselfish thing.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Jesus died on the cross, and took on our debt, so that we could be reunited with God. Most people expect some sort of act before they can forgive, like the sacrificial lambs in the dispensation of law. We no longer have to do that anymore. Forgiveness is not just an act anymore, it’s an extension of Grace. Jesus performed the only act of love that would ever be needed going forward, for everything we have ever faced, anything we are facing, and anything we will ever face. He accomplished what the law could not, but what Grace could.

We simply need to forgive and be forgiven. The most important person to forgive is yourself. If you cannot do this, ask Jesus to help you, He is more than willing to forgive you, it doesn’t matter how bad the thing is that you have done. Bart’s father was a monster who abused him for years, and the fact that Jesus changed him spoke to Bart in a real way. Anyone can be transformed by God. Bart was able to have the relationship with his father again, that he once craved, that he thought was impossible. We now can have that relationship with God that we long for, that was made impossible because of the sin that separated us, but made possible through the Grace of Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter, be blessed!

 

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