Column: Faith Foundations

Practicing a lifestyle of forgiveness - James McFaddin

Let’s establish a baseline before we move forward. We’re going to choose to believe that Jesus is the son of God. The God of Abraham, Isaac,and Jacob. The sone of the one, true God.

Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at what Jesus said about prayer. If you check out a Bible, and you flip through the beginning ofthe section called “The New Testament,” you’ll find a book called “Matthew.” In this book, as you flip the pages, you’ll find some chaptermarkers, and you’ll need to find chapter 6. In that chapter, look for verse 9. When you find that, read down and you’ll soon find it’s “TheLord’s Prayer” which you’ve probably read/heard hundreds of times…but you may not remember the true ending.

At the end, Jesus makes an interesting remark. In verses 14, 15, Jesus says, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenlyFather will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Read it again.

And again.

“…If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

That “Father” person is God. Jesus is His son. So, since Jesus is pretty acquainted with his dad, you’d best believe that he knows what he’stalking about. The gist of it is this: If we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven.

I know that seems contrary to the fluffy bill of goods some preachers try to pitch, but the reality of what Jesus said is that in order toexperience oneness, connectivity, and empowerment from God, we need to practice a lifestyle of forgiveness. Why? Because it exerciseshumility, and puts us in a place where we can truly understand what it is we’re receiving from God when He forgives us! It’s truly a beautifulthing!

Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t say this was going to be easy. For me, as a pastor, I need to ask God daily for Him to bring to my attentionthose I need to forgive, or those I may be harbouring anger/frustration/bitterness/resentment towards. And just when I think I have coveredeveryone and everything, He reminds me of a couple more. But what’s amazing is that when I go through it all, and verbalize that “I forgive,”my heart becomes soft, my anxiety diminishes, and I realize that God has something better for me, for us, than carrying around suchheaviness.

So, this week, ask yourself who you need to forgive. Forgive them, and then experience the joy of knowing that you too are forgiven by yourFather in Heaven.

 

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