Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms"1 (Lyrics)
Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)
Do you know what it feels like to be unforgiven? Is there some past mistake in your life that you regret but can never fix? Are you carrying a whole dose of guilt because someone else still feels wounded? Are you sometimes sad because you were completely misunderstood or unfairly misrepresented and cannot change that misperception? Me, too.
It's an awful feeling to be unforgiven, and it gnaws away at your soul, especially during times of vulnerability, isolation, and sadness. You revisit events in your mind, and a shadow of remorse covers your soul. You can't do anything to change things, so in order to cope, you just pack it away into a corner of your mind and leave it there until it re-emerges at an unexpected or inopportune time. We cannot force others to forgive us, but we can follow Paul's advice:
Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)
As Christians, we are called to be forgivers. Jesus talked about it constantly, and in today's highlighted verse from Colossians, the apostle Paul echoes Christ's message by reminding the church folks at Colossae to forgive their grievances against one another in the same manner as Jesus forgave their sins. In other words, it was expected of Christ's followers to show forgiveness; otherwise their faith was shallow, insincere, and ineffective. However, if the Colossians truly forgave one another, then the church would actually be practicing what Christ required, barriers would be brought down, and wounds would be healed.
Points to ponder: Do I feel unforgiven? How much does it trouble me? Am I willing to forgive those who won't forgive me?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all make mistakes and sometimes we hurt or disappoint other folks so much that they will not forgive us. Although we cannot change the past, allow us the ability to forgive ourselves and others, and do all that we can to mend broken fences and wounded souls. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.