Godly love is given without expectation of return. Meaning it is without condition. God’s love is offered without the contingency that we are without fault. When we do make mistakes we can come to Him and ask for forgiveness and He gives it. Every time.
The challenge is that is then how He commands us to love. Command is such a strong word, but we must remember that His commands are not a flex of His authority over us, but rather a loving push to live the way in which is best for us. Living the way God requires us is the path to living the abundantly full life He offers. Again, this does not mean that life is not without difficulty, but that through difficulty we have the grace, supernatural strength, to carry on the midst of anything without losing our sustaining joy and perfect peace that comes from God. Meaning to say that following His commands do not lead to restriction, but true freedom.
Extending forgiveness to others is one of God’s commands. Jesus actually goes so far as to say that if we refuse to forgive others, God will then not forgive our sins.
I think we have to be careful so that we do not get the wrong image. The phrasing almost makes me think that God is an angry toddler folding His arms in a fit saying, “If you don’t do this, I won’t do that,” which is absolutely not the case. I truly believe that when we fail to forgive others it changes something inside of us.
God is so serious about forgiveness that He said, if you are in the process of trying to get right with God and remember someone who has something against you, stop what you’re doing and go be made right with them and then come back and be made right with God.
When we harbor unforgiveness and become bitter, rehearsing hurts over and over inside of our minds, our hearts become hardened and unable to receive God’s forgiveness. We know that we are not being Christ-like and like all sin we separate ourselves from God. Choosing not to forgive is choosing to remain hurt, rather than receiving the healing that comes with forgiveness.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
- Who in your life have you struggled to forgive?
- How has that unforgiveness affected your life?
PRAY: Father, forgive me of any unforgiveness in my life. Today give me the courage to begin to love like You love and learn how to forgive others the way that You forgive me.
Matthew 6:5-15 (NLT) “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
but rescue us from the evil one.[c]
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
John 10:11-18 (NLT) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
Matthew 5:21-24 (NLT) “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.