” (Matthew 18:15, NLT).
The power of forgiveness.
The Bible is pretty clear on forgiving others. With Matthew 18:15-18 as our guidebook, we are shown how to go directly to the person and show them if they have wronged you.
I love how proactive the Bible is on forgiveness.
Maybe it’s because the root of bitterness grows so easily.
I tell you–after Marc and I moved into our new house we quickly realized how challenging our front lawn would prove to be. Those devil grass roots (also known as Bermuda) are tough. They don’t die for just anyone or anything. They need to be sprayed with Round Up numerous times. And you have to wait TWO WEEKS between each spray.
Not to mention we have the pressure of the HOA breathing down our neck.
But isn’t that real life?
We have the pressures of this world and others treating us unfairly. We pray for mercy and grace and yet seem to come up empty. Meanwhile the soil of our hearts grows bitter as we choose unforgiveness.
This week, refuse to allow others to rob you of the joy found in Jesus. Allow the Spirit to help you find and give forgiveness.
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church…I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven” (Matthew 18:15-18, NLT).
But wait there’s more!
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:19-20, NLT).
[Read Two, my devotional post from last week on this very same verse].
I love how God confirms and then expands on the words He’s already planted in our hearts for it is strong enough to save our souls (James 1:21, NLT).
One of the strongest and most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned in Scripture came from that very Scripture in James.
I literally took God at his Word.
And when I did, He healed me.
I’ll never forget the day I couldn’t forgive myself for the lack of skin on my face and feet. I had tried everything. Been to doctors. Even stayed overnight in the hospital a few times. Took cortizone cream. No matter what I did my eczema still refused to cooperate. I couldn’t forgive myself or God for allowing me to suffer. Even though I knew I was doing good I still had to wait. My goodness didn’t, couldn’t, nor could ever guarantee God’s healing.
Like I said earlier, God is sovereign.
It is up to Him to heal.
So I waited.
Then one day God told me to act. Quickly. He told me to get rid of all my cortisone creams. This was the only thing saving me and my skin (and my sanity). So I got it all out from underneath my bed (cue the lurking monster music) and put it in a black trash bag and gave it to my mom and told her to dump it in some dumpster and not tell me so there was no way for me to look back!
In an instant my body bag filled with death became the life that I needed.
From that moment on God healed my skin–and got all the credit (and the glory).
Friends, forgiveness is an active and alive process. We cannot lie down and allow the roots to grow underneath us.
We have to pull them up and throw them away and move on.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT).
Well, what are you waiting for?
Get rid of it already!
There’s power enough to save your soul.
[Photo taken from iStockphoto.com].