January 27 - The Amazing Power of Forgiveness

By Terrill Pearson

Today's Scripture: Matthew 18:21-22

Central Thought: Forgiveness sweetens the spirit and satisfies the soul.

    How many times do I have to forgive someone? Does God expect us to forgive over and over regardless of the wounds or the mistreatment? These questions have been asked countless times down through the ages. One of the hardest tasks we face in life is to forgive someone.

    Jesus' disciple Peter asked the same question. Jesus' answer offers great insight into resolving an unforgiving spirit. Tradition had taught Peter that to forgive a person three times was both appropriate and generous. Therefore, Peter's suggestion of seven times seemed abundantly generous. However, Jesus' response of seventy times seven which = 490 times seemed unthinkable. What Jesus meant was that forgiveness is without limits.

    An unforgiving spirit limits the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives and causes us to close our hearts to the healing power of God's love. An unforgiving spirit damages our relationship with God and others. It leads to stress and produces spiritual, emotional, and physical harm.

    Jesus taught that forgiveness (or unforgiveness) is a condition of the heart rather than a response to circumstances. With forgiveness comes the wonderful peace of God that washes away the bitterness of failed relationships. A forgiving spirit allows us to move away from bad attitudes and focus on issues of self and spiritual shallowness. God desires to bring renewed joy and peace as we choose to lay aside the wrong that has been done to us.

    The good news is that God is willing to forgive us of all our sins and to treat us as if they never happened. He literally chooses never to remember them again. His forgiveness is a wonderful example for us to follow. If we are willing to forgive others when we are offended, God will give us the grace (favor) to set aside the offence. A forgiving spirit releases God's amazing love into our lives, which leads to peace and contentment.

Devotional Prayer: Father, help me to forgive those who have offended me and to learn to walk in Your love.

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 4:1-5:21; Matthew 18:1-22; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21