…if we refuse to forgive, even our enemies, then they will always have a hold on us and continue to hurt us even after they have passed from this earth. But if we choose to forgive them with God's help, then they lose their stronghold over us and we receive God's peace….
I soon realised that Love was the greatest virtue and the part of the Fruit that binds all of the rest together. Colossians 3:12-14 ‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity’. The bible also tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 'And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love’. Jesus also commands us to love one another in John 13:34-35 ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’.
In the newspapers and on the TV we continually hear about the depravity of this world and its people. So I ask again, 'do we see much, if any, of the love described above?’ It does not seem so does it? But there is however 'good news' – we can make a difference! Why don't we start to make a change and to make a choice today to show God's love to one another? In Mark 12:28-31 Jesus didn't just command us to love one another He also reminds us of the command to firstly Love God and then to Love our neighbour as our self; 'One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important? The most important one’, answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these’.
In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus goes one step further and tells us to love our enemies. To love your enemies’ means you have to forgive your enemies, and this for many is a major stumbling block. How can you forgive someone who has hurt you, abused you, or has devastated your life? Well, on your own this is very difficult and may seem impossible, but with God all things are possible. When you want to forgive and find you're unable to do so, ask God to help you, and He will. We don't have to do this under our own strength, Jesus promised us a helper. In John 14:15-17 Jesus says; ‘If you love Me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth’. God gives us the Holy Spirit not only to guide us through life, but also to help us in the hard times and in the difficult decisions we sometimes have to make.
When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 part of the prayer in Matthew 6:12 tells us; 'Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us' (Good News Translation). He finishes in Matthew 6:14 by telling us; ‘If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done' (Good News Translation). This may seem harsh but Jesus knows that if we refuse to forgive, even our enemies, then they will always have a hold on us and continue to hurt us even after they have passed from this earth. But if we choose to forgive them with God's help, then they lose their stronghold over us and we receive God's peace and His forgiveness towards the things we've done wrong as we repent of them.
If we start to love our enemies and forgive them we really can impact the world. So let's not think about it, let's make a decision to put others before ourselves, and see what transformation we can effect in other people's lives in the areas where we live who knows, we may even start to see transformation in our own lives as we love and forgive one another in 2017.
Author: Kevin Hunt
May God bless and enrich your life
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