Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. - Colossians 3:13
To often I define people by their faults and past offenses. I hold there sins, mistakes, and bad behavior against them and there is nothing they can do to appease me or change my mind about who they are or what they have done.
God has been showing me lately that sometimes my greatest strength can also be my greatest weakness. My sense of justice is one of those double edged swords. I see the world through moral absolutes, right and wrong are very clear to me, justice is extremely important to me. This strength has helped me make very difficult decisions at work and in life with very little stress and second guessing that others might experience.
If I am not careful though this strength can drive the people I love, serve, and lead away from me. I can quickly become very black and white thinker, with no room for exceptions. I fail to see the intentions of the heart and only see the result of their actions.
This is fertile ground for legalism and self-righteousness to grow in my heart and soul. Two characteristics Jesus specifically preached against, and ones he confronted regularly with harsh words. (Matthew 23:25-28)
I'm reminded today that I need to stop, breathe, and allow myself to find space between my need for justice and my desire for compassion. This is what I ask God to do for me. I come before him and ask for forgiveness, mercy, and grace all the time. Why would I not do the same for those around me?
I'm realizing that when I do not accept and forgive, that I eliminate the possibility of reconciliation and fellowship. And this is a wall that I put up on my own. This is a wall that has temporal and eternal implications. This inability to show grace, have mercy, and extend forgiveness effects my relationship with God. (Matthew 6:14-15)
I'm convicted today to extend the joy and peace received through confession and forgiveness, to those that wrong me. I'm convicted to seek forgiveness from those I have harmed so that we can experience joy together - peace together - and fellowship together. (Psalms 32)
Father thank you for sending your Son to die for our sins once and for all. Holy Spirit convict me of my self-righteousness. Help me to know when to take action on my desire for justice and when to seek compassion. Jesus, teach me to have your heart and love for others. Remind me daily of my need to confess and hear confessions of others - accepting them and forgiving them, Amen.
Questions To Consider:
- Is there someone you love, lead, or serve that needs your forgiveness?
- Is there a past wrong or sin that you need to confess and ask for forgiveness?
- Are you creating a culture at home and at work where there is no fear of making mistakes or failing?
Make it a great day!