Do you struggle with hate? Or if you can’t admit to hating anyone, is there someone whom you struggle not to hate?
If so, please indulge me. Try to picture that person standing before Jesus. How do you think your “enemy” would feel in Jesus’ presence in light of what they’ve done? Terrified? Ashamed?
How do you think Jesus would feel about the person who has hurt you?
That person who has betrayed, lied to, taken you for granted?
Would Jesus feel angry at him or her?
Now let’s take it a step further.
What if we were standing before the holy Son of God?
How would we feel in His presence?
What would we see in Jesus’ eyes as He looks at us?
We, the ones who have betrayed, lied to, and taken Him for granted?
Every day, we choose to sin against God in different ways. Thankfully, when we confess our sins, our heavenly Father graciously and readily forgives us.
So why do we withhold that very same grace and mercy from those who have sinned against us?
Why is it so easy to ignore Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)?:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
“As God in Christ forgave you.” These words always grab me.
When I sin, I feel God’s anger – but not at me – at my sin. When I picture Him looking at me after I’ve sinned, I see merciful compassion.
Because He knows me.
He knows I want to do better.
Couldn’t we offer this same mercy and compassion toward the ones who have hurt us – knowing that they, too, want to do better? Like us, most people want to be reasonable and kind. But they get caught up in their own hurts, frustrations, and weaknesses.
It’s often necessary to separate ourselves from our abusers because, sadly, there are people who seem determined to hurt others in ways that seem unforgivable. If you’ve been hurt in this way, and if you’re having a difficult time with this message, I understand. Yet you have the most to gain by forgiving (even if it’s from a place of safety).
Each time you accept God’s grace to forgive (just as the Father has forgiven you), you’ll be able to let go of some of that hate.
And each time you let go of hate, you’ll be better able to love others.
And you’ll be better able to love the One Who loves you … unconditionally.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
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