Forgiveness is a step of faith!

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
 
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (Matthew 25:31-33)
 
Will not the judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)
In week three of this series we considered the fact that all Christians are called to live by faith (Romans 1:17). Forgiveness is a step of faith because we are choosing to trust that God will be true to all he says he is and that ultimately justice will be done for all the evil in the world, including the evil done to us by others.

When we choose to forgive, we are not saying that the thing done to us didn’t matter, or that there shouldn’t be consequences. Quite the opposite, true forgiveness involves genuinely facing up to the pain and evil of what happened. That’s why it sometimes takes time. As we forgive, we say to God, “Father, I trust you with the consequences of what was done to me. Judgement is your business not mine.”

A readiness to forgive is a vital ingredient of all healthy relationships between people, but the main issue is first and foremost between you and God, not the other person.  In that sense, it makes no difference whether the person is sorry for what they did or seeks your forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hands off the situation and the person; it’s our route to freedom from the endless cycles of bitterness that can poison our lives. But we can be sure that God will not take his hands off them. Amazingly, if the person repents and calls out to God for forgiveness, the justice for their sin against you is provided by Jesus at the cross. The terrible alternative is that they will carry it themselves as they are called before the judgement seat of Christ at the end of the age.  Either way, we can trust that God will always ensure that justice is done. Judging is his business, not ours!
  1. How do these thoughts and Scriptures change the way that you think about forgiveness? Does it make extending forgiveness to others seem more possible?
  2. Is there anyone who you have struggled to forgive because reconciliation seems impossible - either because they are not sorry, because they pose a risk of ongoing harm to you, or because you have lost contact (perhaps they may even have died)?
  3. Do you feel able to tell God that you are now taking your hands off them, and trusting them to his justice as you choose to forgive?
  4. Is there any way that you might be able to extend blessing to someone who has harmed you in the past? Don’t seek contact with them if it would place you at risk of further harm, you might simply pray that they come to salvation before they appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
Most Holy God, I recognise that you alone are fit to judge the sins of the world. I choose to trust you to ensure that justice is done in regard to any harm that others have done to me. I choose to forgive and take my hands off every situation that you are calling to my mind. I thank you for the road to freedom that you are opening in front of me today. Amen
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by David Featherstone.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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