and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
One of the most difficult things we do in life is to deal with difficult people with love. It is easier to avoid someone or even to be mean rather than to show love or even to forgive. When we choose to step up and show the love of God, we choose to act outside of the natural, or what feels natural, and to do what is supernatural.
This kind of action doesn’t make us a superhero or make us better than someone else. Often what showing love, being kind of offering forgiveness does is open the opportunity for God to be seen and heard by the people you encounter.
Who are the people in your life that need to see love? Who are some of the people in your life that rarely have someone show genuine concern for? I believe that there are people all around us who are kind of falling through the proverbial cracks because they rarely see Christians do Christian things. It is easier to take care of self or just move on and not deal with other people.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
It is always right to do the right thing. Heard that before? There is always time to do the right thing. How about that on? Often we choose the short cut in relationships and in other situations that come up. It is the shortcuts that often cause the most damage.
God uses your heart and mine, our actions and our words to point people to Him. One the other hand, Satan will use our actions and our words to point people away from God, but we cannot blame Satan for our choices. They are our choices to either do right or wrong, to give forgiveness or to show love.
By doing right, by showing love, by offering forgiveness we might just open the door for someone to meet Jesus for the very first time. Forgiveness really is a big deal.
Henry Nouwen put it this way:
Community is not possible without the willingness to forgive one another "seventy-seven times" (see Matthew 18:22). Forgiveness is the cement of community life. Forgiveness holds us together through good and bad times, and it allows us to grow in mutual love.
But what is there to forgive or to ask forgiveness for? As people who have hearts that long for perfect love, we have to forgive one another for not being able to give or receive that perfect love in our everyday lives. Our many needs constantly interfere with our desire to be there for the other unconditionally. Our love is always limited by spoken or unspoken conditions. What needs to be forgiven? We need to forgive one another for not being God!
Colossians 3: 13, 15
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."
Henri (Nouwen) says forgiveness takes practice. Imagine if both communities and each of us practiced forgiveness. What could that look like?