May God forgive us for turning THIS into a selfish act …
Leave it to us human beings to make the topic of forgiveness an act of selfishness.
Here’s one example of a very common message about forgiveness:
Forgiveness is discussed and described often and broadly among Christians and non-Christians alike. Unfortunately, we’ve warped this critical topic into something “all about us.” You’ll routinely hear people talk about how not forgiving others wrecks our lives (true!), and how forgiving others benefits yourself (also true!). Rarely do you hear any discussion about how forgiving others mirrors the graciousness and character of God!
The Apostle Paul didn’t miss this key to forgiveness:
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you,” Ephesians 4:32.
How did God forgive us?
Selfishly so He would feel better about maintaining a relationship with us?
Selfishly to avoid bitterness in His holy heart?
Selfishly to free Himself from holy resentment?
Scripture tells us this: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners,” Romans 5:8.
God forgave our sins because He loves us! When we were at our worst, He acted in love.
In the Garden of Gethsemane we see Jesus didn’t relish having to endure the cross as the means of providing forgiveness of our sins, but in spite of His feelings He acted in love, in our best interest at the expense of His own.
That’s how we should forgive one another “… just as God through Christ …” forgave us. Not from selfish reasoning, but because the One who is love has forgiven us, and is transforming us to be like Him. That means being able to act in love even when others are at their worst.
Are your expressions of forgiveness an act of love, or an act of selfishness?