GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
By Keith L. Estes
Picture The Holiness Of God
When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he exclaimed, "Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5).
Contrast Our Sin With The Wrongs Of Our Offenders
It is easy for us to become bitter toward those who offend us by magnifying their faults and offenses. However, when we compare them to the willful sins and iniquities that we have committed against a holy God, there is little else to say other than what the publican said in the temple: "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
Experience The Mercy of the Lord
When the wicked servant was called in by his master and told to pay his huge debt, he did not ask for mercy; he simply asked for an extension of time. "The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all" (Matthew 18:26). Because this servant did not ask for mercy, he was not able to show mercy to the fellow servant who owed him a little amount. Instead, he threw him into debtor's prison and incurred the wrath of the master who had forgiven him so much. The master, therefore, threw him in prison and brought in the tormentors to help him realize that he could never pay his debt. His only choice was to plead for mercy.
After David sinned, he majored on the mercy of the Lord. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1).
Fully Forgive All Offenders
A tender heart requires that we forgive all those who have offended us. God further mandates that it be a sincere and full forgiveness from the heart. (See Matthew 18: 34 -35)
Discover Why God Let It Happen
Bitterness blinds our ability to forgive our offender, or God, for letting it happen. However, Scripture states that "...all things work together for good..." (Romans 8: 28) This even includes offenses. In order to understand how things work together for good, we need to identify benefits that God intended from the offense.
For example, a seventeen-year-old boy was very bitter at a relative for physically abusing him when he was four years old. He refused to forgive the relative or God. He flatly stated, "God allowed it to happen; therefore, He was not there when I needed Him. Why should I trust Him now?" It was explained to him that there are three parts of a person's being, his spirit, his soul, and his body. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Then he was asked which is the most important of these three. He said, "The spirit." Then he was asked which is the next most important part of our being. He said, "The soul." Both answers were affirmed as correct.
Finally he was asked what is the least important part of our being. He replied, "The body." Again his answer was affirmed with Scripture."...Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16). It was then pointed out to him that if he did not fully forgive his offender, he was allowing that offender to damage not only his body, but also his soul and spirit. He stated that he did not want this to happen. At this point a truth was given to him that changed his whole heart.
If God allows your body to be damaged, He compensates your loss by giving you a far greater power and ability in your spirit and in your soul. An example of this is Daniel. He was brought as a prisoner to Babylon and made a eunuch, which meant that he would never be able to have any children. However, in compensation God gave him a mighty spirit and soul. He served four kings and understood great spiritual truths. Based on this truth, the boy prayed and dedicated his body, soul, and spirit to the Lord Jesus Christ. He not only forgave his offender but also asked God to have mercy on him.
Ref. Inst. in Basic Life Principles, Box 1, Oak Brook, IL 60522 Used by Permission