Forgiveness: An Act of Love
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Forgiving those who have wronged us is a tough command to follow. Our human nature finds it easier and more satisfying to hold onto our anger. But as vessels of God’s love, Christians no longer live according to the impulses of the flesh. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, when someone mistreats us, we can not only forgive but also show love to that person.
First Corinthians 13:5 tells us that . . .
• Love does not seek its own. Many people are preoccupied with their “rights.” Yet the idea of entitlements is a worldly construct, not a biblical mandate. That’s not to say we should allow others to take advantage of us; rather, the Bible teaches that our primary concern should be something other than our own interests—namely, we’re to be focused on showing God’s love to our enemy (Matt. 5:44).
• Love is not provoked. Maintaining a peaceful spirit when we are irritated is difficult. But the moments when we are persecuted or wronged are precisely the times we most need to be mindful of God’s love flowing through us. Think how often Jesus had to face religious leaders who deliberately provoked Him, and yet, on the cross, He sought the Father’s forgiveness for them, too.
• Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. God’s love flowing through us can carry away a hurt done by another person. But we must allow this to happen instead of holding onto pain.
People will wrong us. But if we have a caring attitude and refuse to be provoked or preoccupied with rights, then we will be able to let go of bitterness and forgive with love.