Saturday, June 13, 2015


I serve a God who's relentless love and grace is something that I don't really understand and is something I may never be able to fully fathom. His grace is for everyone, and He gave His Son so that we could experience His mercy -- and a life lived with Him forever. I believe there is no better gift than that!

Sometimes, when I sit down to read my Bible, it can be a daunting task -- it can be overwhelming to pick a place to begin when there is thousands of pages full of important words. Recently, I decided to explore the idea of forgiveness, after I read a few verses on it.

I think one of the (many) flaws that I have is that I can be sensitive sometimes. I'm not always this way, but when I do get hurt or offended, I'm definitely hurt. And sometimes, I have a hard time dealing with people who hurt me.

My exploration of forgiveness could not have come at a more needed time -- and I think God makes verses jump out at me often when I need to hear a certain message. So here are the few things that I learned.

God gave us forgiveness.

God wiped away every sin that we ever committed and every sin that we ever will commit because Christ died on the cross for us. It is something that is more or less mind blowing -- and it only becomes more surreal as you grow closer with Christ! There are countless stories and verses that demonstrates Christ's relationship with people and how He treated even those who were so undeserving of His mercy. He paints a perfect picture of what it looks like to forgive.

"In prayer, there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part." Matthew 6:14-15
"Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 NIV

In this verse, I just love how it describes forgiving one another. Treating people with kindness, and being quick to forgive. God forgives all our sins because he is faithful where we are faithless and unrighteous; He is forgiving where we are impure.

Additionally, if we don't forgive others, we aren't in the right place to ask Christ for forgiveness for our sins. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't be denied God's grace -- but that isn't the way Christ calls us to live. He wants us to be kind and merciful unto others.

As followers of Christ, we are called to extend God's grace.

There were countless times where I found stories that mentioned extending the grace and mercy that God gives us to others. Of course, this is so much easier said than done, but it is always important to think about these things. God calls us, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to keep watch over each other, and always be a light for Christ -- leading those around us to Him. The last thing we want to do is to be destructive and harmful to others -- regardless of whether they are seeking Christ or not.

"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:15 NIV

Since God has given us such a wonderful gift of love -- we are called to extend that to those that are around us. We should strive to show other's God's grace -- and for them to receive it personally. Everyone deserves to know God's love, and no one but God is able to decide who deserves it.

Constantly forgive.

We are all humans, and humans naturally make mistakes. That is the essence of our being. In fact, we tend to make the same mistakes over and over. I think it is natural to hope that others offer us grace, even if we mess up multiple times, but when someone repeatedly wrongs you -- it is sometimes hard to continue forgiving. Yet, that isn't the way God views it, so we shouldn't view it that way, either.

"At that point, Peter came to Him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No, not seven times,' Jesus replied, 'but seventy times seven!" Matthew 18:21-22 NLT

Constant forgiveness just isn't second nature -- at least it isn't always on my mind. But showing grace means trying your best to always let that person back in and love them anyways -- even if it means forgiving hundreds of times over.

We are not to judge or decide who deserves forgiveness.

Something I struggle with is letting go of things that are in the past; moving on from the hurt that other's may have caused me. We are not called to decide who deserves to be forgiven...because ultimately, no one is, especially me. We are not called to create the list of who makes "the cut" for grace. Because the beauty of it is that we are in no way deserving, but we are still offered it.

If we don't love -- we are nothing.

One of the most powerful reminders I experienced was that it all comes down to love. I need to focus on loving others more and loving them better. Loving people for who they are and for who Christ made them to be.

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother, whom they can see, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." 1 John 4:20 NIV
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2

I think these two verses just say it all. If we don't simply love others, we aren't showing that we have Christ. I always said that my mission was to love God and to love people. If I don't do this -- what am I living for? And if I'm not loving my friends and those around me -- I'm not fully demonstrating what it's like to live for Christ. It always seems to boil down to love -- love is the root of everything!

I'm so thankful for nights when God reveals to me a lesson like this -- and that I can be reminded to just let go and let God.


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