Training Yourself in Forgiveness
In Luke 17:1, Jesus tells us that opportunities to be offended are inevitable. Therefore it takes effort to stay free from offense. In the New Testament, Paul compares this process to that of exercising:
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offense toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16 KJV
If we exercise our bodies, we are less prone to injury. Likewise, we can condition ourselves to obey God and live in forgiveness by exercising our hearts. Our degree of maturity in a given area will determine how well we handle an offense without suffering an injury.
How do we gain this maturity? It doesn’t come easily. If it did, all would attain it. We encounter resistance in the growth process because our society is not godly but selfish.
As a result, as we enter into the maturity of Christ, we will face the hardships that come from standing against the flow of selfishness.
Scripture affirms this. Paul once encouraged a group of churches by…
…exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22 NKJV
When we are determined to go God’s way, we will meet up with many tribulations, including encounters with offense.
These trials will all show the answer to one main question: are you going to look out for yourself as the world does, or are you going to live a self-denying life?
As we exercise our faith to respond to wrongdoing and resistance well, the Holy Spirit is our trainer. He knows what we need to come out of difficulty strong and whole. Ask Him to direct and teach you so that you can walk in freedom, authority, and love before God and men!
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