Is forgiveness our habit, our mantra in life no matter what anyone says or does against us? Is forgiveness our habit when that certain “extra grace required” family member or coworker digs at you, judging and maligning your character, putting you down for your life choices while assuming the worst about you every time you see them?
“If God kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?” cries out the Psalmist! No one. Absolutely no one.
Paul reiterates this forgiveness later to new churches (groups of believers in Jesus) that were forming all over the world. Forgiveness begins with the love of God in us. This “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”, says Paul. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV
Love never fails. Love is the key to forming a habit of forgiveness like God has. We will never fully reach this level of forgiveness but God expects us to forgive each other as He has forgiven us.
“Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32, The Message
“As Christ forgave you”…commands that to receive forgiveness we must forgive each other. One can’t be without the other. We are commanded to be like Christ in every way. Forgiveness is God’s habit and should be our habit that forms to the level of forgiving as our second nature, without thinking about the ramifications. First love, then forgive. No matter what. Love well. Without love it is impossible to completely forgive.
Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs
Psalm 130, The Message
1-2 Help, God—I’ve hit rock bottom!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.
3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.
5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
7-8 O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
buy back Israel from captivity to sin.
TRUTH: Wait and watch for God. With God’s arrival comes love and generous redemption. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17, NIV
Forgiveness is God’s habit because of His unchanging, relentless love. And that’s why we worship and praise Him!
WISDOM: Proverb 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
We have all been in situations where we have done wrong and desire forgiveness—from a spouse, family member, friend, or even a co-worker. Sometimes the person we most need forgiveness from is ourselves. And then there are the times when someone is asking us for forgiveness, and we have to look deeply in ourselves to offer it, no strings attached. It’s hard! Whether you are giving or receiving forgiveness, it’s a very powerful thing.
We are blessed to have God’s Word that give us tons of guidance on His love and healing which can go hand in hand with forgiveness. After all, to forgive is to show love, and love is the most important thing we can give to our friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers. If you’re in need of forgiveness right now, or if you need some motivation to forgive someone in your life, look to God. God is love and forgiveness defined. Forgiveness is His habit!
Abba, Father in Heaven,
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who malign and hurt us in all kinds of ways. Lead us not into the temptations to fight back, judge, hold grudges or assume the worst; but to merely love and forgive like you love and forgive us.
In Jesus Name, Amen