In a situation where, having to face the truth, I daily find myself being rejected and abandoned ( a bit like Groundhog’s Day), this is precisely what God has been working on me about….and I found it to be very timely (thanks Zabeth ❤ ). May He grow me in this until it is my second nature (His), and while He protects my heart which is usually burning with sadness and loneliness. My daily desire is that I pray to honor Him above my pride and hurt, no matter what the cost to me is. He deserves it more than I deserve even a speck of His grace. Dying to self….not nearly as easy as dying in one’s sleep, that’s for darn sure. But what I must do because I belong to Him, and He paid the highest price for that belonging. May I consider my sins long before I take into account the sins of another, regardless of how personally painful, keeping my eyes and focus on the Author and Perfecter of my faith. I thank You in this, dear Lord, even though it feels much like my heart is being ripped from my chest, to be honest. My hope is in You, it should never be in anyone or anything else, no matter how dear they may be. YOU are dearer.
And so, if it is for You, I will go through whatever You have for me and I will bless Your holy name by my obedience to Your never changing word of truth. Grow me in Your grace and into a woman after Your own heart. You are all I want or need, and all I have in this world. And considering my own sinfulness, that I have You is astounding.~AGM†
I. STUDY THE PATTERN OF FORGIVENESS.
1. What is this forgiveness of Christ?
(1) He forgave offences most great and grievous. Men did all they could against Him. Say not that you have never thus transgressed. “He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” These offences were unprovoked. Towards no man had He acted harshly. Such is human depravity that His very virtue provoked hostility. “They hated Me without a cause.” He continues to forgive causeless wrong.
(2) He forgave the most unworthy persons. None deserved such kindness; in fact, to talk of deserving it is a contradiction. If He had left us in our sin we could have brought no complaint against Him.
(3) He had always power to execute vengeance. Some pardon because they cannot punish. Half the forgiveness in the world comes from weakness of hand rather than forgiveness of heart.
2. How did He forgive?
(1) Unsolicited. Before we had thought of mercy He had thoughts of mercy toward us. “I have blotted out… return unto Me.” Pardon is not first as matter of experience, but it is as matter of fact with God.
(2) Heartily. Forgiveness when it comes from human lips in studied phrase is not worth the having: but when Jesus absolves it is from the heart, and sin is put away for ever.
(3) Completely. He keeps no back reckonings. “I will not remember thy sins.” Even fathers, when they have forgiven a wayward child, will, perhaps, throw the offence in his teeth years after; but Christ says, “Thy sins shall not be mentioned against thee any more.”(4) Continuously. He forgave us long ago. He still forgives. It is not a reprieve, but a free pardon.
(5) Graciously. Some people make it appear as though they were coming down from such awful heights. You newer feel that about Christ. He never scalds the sinner with scornful pity.
(6) Greatly. The offence had brought trouble into the world, and He bore that trouble. Some people hand us over to consequences; Christ delivers us from them.
(7) Consciously. There is a theory abroad that we may be forgiven and not know it. But the Holy Spirit writes forgiveness on our hearts.
II. COPY IT FOR YOURSELVES.
1. This precept is universally applicable. It is unqualified in its range. It is not put that superiors are to forgive inferiors, or the less are to forgive the greater. The rich are to be forbearing to the poor, and the poor to the rich; the elder is to forgive the junior for his imprudence, and the junior the elder for his petulence and slowness.
2. This forbearance and forgiveness are vital. No man is a child of God who has not a likeness to God; and no man is forgiven who will not himself forgive.
3. Gloriously ennobling. Revenge is paltry; forgiveness is great-minded. David was greater than Saul, and Saul acknowledged it. To win a battle is a little thing if fought out with sword and gun, but to win it in God’s way with love and forgiveness is the best of victories. A nation in fighting, even if it wins the campaign, has to suffer, but he that overcomes by love is all the better and stronger for it.
4. Logically appropriate to all. If our Lord has forgiven us ten thousand talents, how can we take our brother by the throat for one hundred pence.
5. Most forcibly sustained by the example in the text. “Even as Christ.” It is said(1) “If you pass by every wanton offence you will come to be despised.” But has Christ’s honour suffered? Far from it. It is His glory to forgive.
(2) “If we overlook offences, other people may be tempted to wrong us.” But has any been tempted to do so because Christ has forgiven you? Why, that is the very ground work of holiness.
(3) “I know several pious persons who are unforgiving.” But that proves their impiety; and if it did not, the Master is your example, not your fellow-servant, particularly in his faults.
(4) “These persons would not have forgiven me.” Just so; but you are a child of God, and must not lower your standard down to that of publicans and sinners.
(5) “I would forgive him, but he does not deserve it.” That is why you are to forgive him; if he deserved it you would be bound to do him the justice he could claim.
(6) “I cannot forgive.” You “can do all things through Christ that strengthens you.”
(C. H. Spurgeon.)