Scripture clearly lets us know that being angry with one another from time to time is not necessarily a sin. However, it is what we do with that anger that can become detrimental to our spiritual growth and relationship with Christ.
For as Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 and 27: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.”
This is contrary to the type of instruction we might get from a world and society that champions “looking out for No. 1” above the Scriptural command to think of others more highly than ourselves.
We’re often told something along these lines: “If they don’t forgive you, don’t go all out of your way to forgive them. They did you wrong, they don’t deserve it anyway.”
God’s Word here, however, is calling for a new way of thinking when it comes to forgiveness. It’s a forgiveness that calls for us to wipe the slate clean of whatever offense has hurt us. It’s a forgiveness that is synonymous with a spiritual type of forgetfulness — spiritual amnesia, if you will.
It is the same style of forgiveness that was undeservedly extended to us.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Well, since we’re called to forgive others as Christ forgave us, the question is, how exactly did Christ forgive us?
This is how: He wiped our slate clean, He gave us a new life, He gave us abundant life, brought forth the gift of grace, made possible the ability to repent, He gave us direct access to the Father through the Son by the vehicle of prayer.
He held nothing against us. He erased all condemnation. As the Psalmist David wrote, He removed our sins as far as the east is from the west….He remembers them no more (Psalm 103).
Unlike humans, Jesus holds nothing against us, doesn’t try to make us feel guilty for our past. He doesn’t hang it over our heads. He doesn’t make us spend the rest of our lives trying to live down the fact that we messed up. And what’s more, He extends to us complete and total “agape”-style love. This Greek word for love simply means: “unconditional.”
Is forgiveness on this level difficult? Most definitely! But I submit unto you that it’s even more freeing and exponentially more liberating, than it is difficult.
So what are we holding onto today? What feelings? Animosity? Bitterness? Wrath or anger? Are we saying: “Yes I forgive him/her BUT…”? Are we still making idle conversation about how he or she did us wrong?
If so, I plead with you…LET IT GO. Experience the freedom of forgiving like God forgave. That person you’re forgiving or seeking forgiveness from may never accept it. Who cares! When you do your part and extend forgiveness, you have freed yourself.
You cannot control what another person does or does not do with his or her opportunity to be free. So liberate your soul today. Accept forgiveness. Freely give forgiveness to others AND to yourself, and experience a lighter load as you walk in newness with Jesus.