Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Read: Ephesians 4:32
Listen: Ephesians 4
As brand-new communities of Jesus-followers spring up around the Mediterranean, they are quickly known for some distinguishing characteristics. These include their hospitality to the poor and suffering, a commitment to the sanctity of life and their countercultural sexual ethic. They are also known for their willingness to forgive, and a desire for reconciliation, when wronged. Teaching forgiveness and withholding retaliation (often in the face of intense persecution) is unheard of and comes from an unexpected place—the cross of Jesus.
Throughout the New Testament, forgiving others is tied to Jesus’s death on the cross and his payment of our debts that we could not pay. It can be easy to think that our sins are few, minor and excused. But watch this video clip as Pastor Jeff Manion explains our sins are actually many, severe and with no excuses. God forgives us because Jesus paid the penalty that was rightfully ours. This costly forgiveness (including the incredible emotional harassment Jesus endured) pushes us to forgive those who hurt us. We are not to hoard God’s forgiveness. We’re to forgive the same way we’ve been forgiven. Vertical forgiveness is the motivation for horizontal forgiveness.
Even knowing this, forgiveness can be difficult to offer and take a long time to achieve. No part of this process is automatic or routine. Forgiveness might not result in the restoration of a relationship. But it’s what Jesus calls us to do. It’s another area of GOSPEL CHANGE.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Begin to memorize Ephesians 4:32 as the first step in allowing the Gospel to change your practice of forgiveness. Write it on a 3 x 5 card, sticky note or mobile note and place it where you will repeatedly see it throughout the day. Make it a family activity to see who can repeat it with the least amount of help.
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
April is CONFESSION. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.