#Brotherhood yet we fail to forgive one another? We withhold the greatest gift:
By Andrew Starnes:
“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8
In life, we are often wounded deeply by individuals and even more so by those close to us. These events lead us to feel bitter, hurt, and justified in feeling anger towards them. We even go as far as condemning them.
The great contradiction in the fire service is that we are willing to lay down our lives for a complete stranger but we refuse to forgive a fellow firefighter that we work with.
Take a moment and look at forgiveness from another perspective.
What if we caused someone great harm?
What if we went out of our way to persecute, ridicule, condemn and falsely accuse this person?
And our actions ultimately lead to their death. Would we feel that we deserve their forgiveness?
Consider the life of Jesus:
Jesus led a life of love, teaching, and healing everywhere He went. He committed no wrongs yet others condemned Him because of His message. It made them feel uncomfortable and exposed their sinful ways. So what did they do?
They falsely accused Him, paid witnesses to lie about Him in a trial, and then He was tortured, ridiculed. and He was made to carry the very thing He would be killed on for a half a mile.
When we think of every face in the crowd that were shouting “crucify Him” and suddenly we see our own face staring back at us.
We often ridicule and say bad things about others who make us feel uncomfortable by their good works. We look for chinks on their armor because we feel inferior. When they mess up; we call them hypocrites and gloat at their misfortune.
We then tear others down at their expense to make us feel better. Yet, we call ourselves good and some of us even claim to be Christians. It is our bad example that causes many non-believers to reject Christianity.
Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 15;
“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Matthew 15:8-9
“How are we to share the love of God if our own methods aren’t loving?” (Ravi Zacharias)
Are we truly “loving one another?”
Jesus chose to die for us even though “we were sinners.” He forgave us and He even goes a step farther. He wants a close and personal relationship with each of us!
When we take a new look at the cross and realize that our sin put Him there…We don’t feel worthy of forgiveness. Yet, He forgave us.
So let us take a look back at our own lives for a moment from the perspective of Jesus:
Despite those who have wronged us, hurt us, and betrayed us we now can realize that we need to Forgive them for we have been forgiven much.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each another, just as in Christ, God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32
If we fail to forgive others when we ourselves have been forgiven so great a debt; we are actually condemning ourselves.
Jesus said “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14
As Christians, we must forgive and show God’s love to others no matter how difficult. For if we fail to do so we are actually leading others away from Christ and condemning ourselves.
Let’s speak the truth in love and live out our beliefs by forgiving others as Christ forgave us.
As firefighters, shouldn’t we already understand this principle? He has written it on our hearts.