(Ephesians 4:32) “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Forgiveness is all about making a situation right – in the eyes of God even if it is not right n the eyes of man. Unfortunately, we tend to look for ways around it in order to ease our hurt pride when we’ve been wronged. Our natural tendency is to hold grievances and grudges. When operating out of the flesh, we feel justified in unforgiveness. Even the most loving people can let bitterness sneak up on them when they are clearly wronged. We don’t realize it has gripped us until we are already in its clutches. The key to forgiving one another is understanding the last phrase in this verse. So what does “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” mean?
- Unconditional – God the Father forgave us without putting demands on our performance. We were God’s enemies (Rom 5:9) – Our words, our thoughts, our actions were totally contrary to Him and His ways, yet He chose to forgive us.
- Sacrificial – God paid the price for our forgiveness, we didn’t. The sacrifice was all on the side of the One doing the forgiving.
- Cost – It cost God part of Himself to forgive us. The Lord Jesus Christ took on our human form, our sins, and our punishment. God did not charge us with the price of our forgiveness because the debt was impossible to pay.
The context of this verse is how Christians should treat one another – notice it says “one another.” Because of who we are in Christ, we have the capacity in us to forgive as God forgave us. It means we are willing to forgive without demanding payment or performance. It means we are willing to sacrifice our pride. It means we are willing to take on all the cost of providing forgiveness without demanding payment from the other person. We may have been grievously wronged by a brother or sister. We may have suffered financial damage by someone in our church who will not repay. We may have been hurt by someone we trusted who refuses to be sorry. But it in the strength of who we are in Christ that we can make the situation right from the perspective of God. Forgiveness doesn’t mean there are no consequences for the wrong. C.S. Lewis said, “Forgiveness does not mean excusing.” But it does mean someone is willing to demonstrate grace even when it is humanly impossible.
Renewed Thought – “”To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis