I love a good snowfall! Don’t you? The snowflakes tenderly cover the thirsty, yearning ground. When I look out the window instead of seeing dry grass, I see a covering of cold and peaceful perfection. I think the snow is a picture of God’s amazing grace. When God looks at us, He could choose to see everything we’ve ever done wrong. But instead when we say yes to Jesus, God see His son reflected in us. Jesus is my covering. It is only because of Jesus that I have any purity. The only righteousness I have is because of Him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9. (NKJV)
Dear Jesus, thank You for the cross; for forgiving me. Love is much more than kisses, chocolates, and random romantic gestures. Love is deeper, messier, and more complicated, than a perfect life free of arguments or misunderstandings. Simply, look at the cross. The cross is the deepest symbol of love.
“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (HCSB)
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for my sins, thousands of years before I was born. Jesus already knew what sins I would commit, and He paid for them anyway. Jesus still loved me with all His being, all of His blood, beatings, and scornful insults that were wrongly thrust on Him. Most of us are familiar or have heard of Lam. 3:22-23. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. But I cannot simply be thankful and harbor bitterness and hurt feelings. Every morning when I wake up I must extend God’s mercies to those who’ve hurt me and who will hurt me. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s true. “The people closest to you will hurt you the most.” So, does that mean that I avoid people? Do I avoid loving people because I struggle to forgive? Because I struggle to forget? No.
Jesus died on the cross for everyone, knowing that many would reject Him. But Jesus still took on the pain. Jesus chose to forgive. I must also choose forgiveness.Matt. 5:14-15.
“He heals the brokenhearted. And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:3-5.
“Satan aggravates wounds from the past to devastate your future.” (Linda Barrick, Beauty Marks.)
Whenever I am tempted to criticize or become bitter when someone I dearly love fails me, I must look to the cross and remember Jesus. What else can I do but simply surrender and forgive? Jesus continues to bring me back to the cross. He continues to bring me back to 1 Corinthians 13. He shows me how much He has forgiven me and therefore I must forgive.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail, whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away ….For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am also known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8,12-13. (NKJV)
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Prov. 17:9 (NIV)
So dear friend, I don’t know what hurts wall up your heart. I can imagine that it is wrenching to thing about. Maybe you’ve shed some tears or tossed and turned unable to fall asleep. Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving. That time will never come. Forgive in faith. We must forgive if we want to move forward with Jesus and His amazing grace.
“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47.