May 4

Radical Forgiveness, Part 1

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

We all have a spiritual disease that affects us to one degree or another. It’s called RU—residual unforgiveness. The Latin name is notquitelettinggo-ius. These are the areas of unforgiveness trying to hide themselves like children who don’t want to go to bed.

Ask yourself some questions:
• Whose name causes you to shut down?
• Who have you put in a “judgment box” that tends to stay there?
• Is there someone that when you heard bad news about, you were kind of glad—just a little?
• Who is the person you wouldn’t be able to extend grace to, even if you haven’t seen them in years?

Radical means “at the root,” and radical forgiveness is forgiveness that gets to the root of things. If you’ve ever had any “radical” work done, you know it’s serious, it can hurt, and it takes commitment. Radical forgiveness is no different. It takes focus, commitment, and a willingness to go to places we’d rather not think about anymore. These are places that call us to lean on the Lord in ways we’ve been avoiding. But the good news is that we get to receive His help and know His heart in ways we’ve never experienced before. The experience changes us, and it’s all for the better.

Remembering that He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), let’s look to Jesus as our example and our model. He forgave His murderers on the cross (Luke 23:34), and died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Then His word tells us in Colossians 3:13 that “even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Perhaps most powerfully, Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Clearly what Jesus has provided for us, we must provide for others, even when it hurts. There has been no greater offense in history than what was done to Jesus Christ, and He forgave. A true disciple of Christ will let the Lord take him/her to whatever place is necessary to bring about that same forgiveness. Jesus dying and rising again guarantees that we have the ability to go to those places with Him and return not just intact, but stronger.

Just because you’ve been able to “move on” or you don’t feel angry anymore doesn’t mean very much. Many diseases are unfelt or in remission. If you’ve answered the questions above and there is no one you have an RU problem with, then you are either deceiving yourself or you can skip the next few devotionals. If we are honest enough, there is usually some work to be done.

Prayer: Lord, You set the example for us. Help me to see that if You could forgive with all that was so unfairly done to you, and that You call us to forgive, then we can through You Who strengthens me. Soften my heart; make me real in this whole area.

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