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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

A Song of Forgiveness

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

God has a purpose for every relationship in our lives. He desires for each relationship to bring Him glory and to accomplish good in both our lives and the lives of others. That is easy to understand regarding comfortable, enjoyable relationships. Yet, how is God glorified and how is good accomplished in the difficult relationships?

Perhaps like me, you have a relationship with someone that has a history of difficulty. You’ve tried numerous tactics to improve the relationship. You’ve ignored hurtful words or actions.  You’ve talked to the individual, seeking reconciliation. Maybe you’ve spoken to them in anger or even withdrawn from them.

I tried all of these tactics; yet, the relationship remained unchanged. In time I realized I had grown bitter toward the individual. I prayed about this relationship for years and finally came to understand that I could do nothing to change the other person. That wasn’t my job; it was God’s. What I could do was to allow God to use the relationship to accomplish good in me. That is exactly what He did.

God used the individual to develop patience and unconditional love in me. More importantly, God used the individual to develop forgiveness in me. God placed me in the situation of taking care of that person for a lengthy time. One day I realized the tune of bitterness was gone, and in its place was a song of compassion, love and forgiveness. God had given me forgiveness for that person, even though the person never asked for forgiveness and probably never will. Through giving, I had become forgiving.

 Jesus taught His disciples to have a spirit of forgiveness. Peter asked if he should forgive his brother seven times, thinking that was more than enough. Jesus responded I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:22). Paul’s letter to the Corinthians expounds on forgiveness by saying, Love…keeps no record of wrongs (I Corinthians 13:4-5).

Lord Jesus, the more I understand Your forgiveness of me, the more I’m willing to forgive others. Give me a loving, forgiving spirit that keeps no record of wrongs.

Jan Burkhart

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