Today’s scripture reading:
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Motivated by love, God provided a way for our sins to be forgiven: He sent Jesus to be our Savior. When we trust in the Lord’s substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf, we receive the gift of forgiveness.
Before placing faith in Christ, we were dead in our sins and objects of divine wrath (“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying Satan—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.a He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. References for Ephesians 2:2FootnotesAll of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” Ephesians 2:1-3). But our merciful heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus to redeem us. At the cross, the Savior took our sins upon Himself and experienced God’s fury for our sake. His death secured a pardon for us; there was nothing we ourselves could do to acquire God’s acceptance. We are saved by grace—through faith in Christ and what He accomplished (“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is a free gift from the Father.
God’s will is that we, as forgiven people, show mercy to those who wrong us—to the same degree that He forgave us in Christ. But the human tendency is to attach conditions when extending mercy. We think, I will forgive you only if you apologize. Or, You must fix the problem, and then I’ll stop being angry. Or even, You must make restitution before I will let this go. That’s not what our Savior did. Romans 5:8 expresses it this way: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Depending on how much hurt we’ve experienced, we may require time and healing before we can truly forgive. But we are to remember that showing mercy is God’s will. We’re called to pardon those who have caused us pain. Through reliance on God’s Spirit, we can become Christlike and forgive.