The Grace to Forgive

In my devotional reading this morning (1Samuel, Ch’s 24-26) I re-read the familiar story of David and his encounter with a murderous & malicious King Saul in a dark cave at En Gedi. David could have taken matters into his own hands and taken the life of an unsuspecting King Saul right then and there. But he didn’t. He refused to. He knew in his heart he needed to leave Saul’s life – and any vengeance – in the hands of Him who alone would judge righteously. (Cf. Rom. 12:19, 1Pet. 2:23)

Are you in a stew, waiting for an opportunity to avenge a suffered wrong? God wants to replace your bitterness and resentment with a spirit of forgiveness. Although you may be looking for something punitive in the situation, God always desires to do something redemptive & restorative. It seems that Jonah understood this about God, quite clearly (cf. Jonah 3:10-4:3).

You say you want “justice” for the wrong or perceived ‘injustice’ you experienced at the hand of another? The unavoidable truth is, Justice was served… at the cross! (cf. Col. 2:14)

As God directed Moses at Marah: “…add the tree, and make the bitter waters sweet” ( Exodus 15:23-25). Choose to see the situation through the finished work of the cross; place the cross between you and the individual who has wronged or hurt or slandered you… realizing that this situation presents you with an opportunity to die to yourself – and in dying, to become a bit more like Jesus.

Remember, we are never more like JESUS than when we love in this way; we are never more like Jesus than when we forgive.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21, esv)

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