Read: Ephesians 4:30-32
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
The practice of forgiveness is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life. It is vital for the health of any relationship. But where do we find this power to forgive?
In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul helps us to understand that all Christians have the power to forgive because of our new life in Christ. Since we have been adopted into the family of God and received the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we now have God’s power residing in us.
But this power comes with new responsibilities. Although God sovereignly makes us new creatures, he also commands us in the strength of the Spirit to subdue, tame, and train our unredeemed flesh. When believers grieve the Holy Spirit, we are rebelling against God’s internal agent of righteousness.
The more we hold on to our hurts, anger, and bitterness, the more we become slaves to unforgiveness.
When we chose not to forgive, we harbor hate in our hearts, harm ourselves, and hinder our relationship with God. The old adage is true; holding on to unforgiveness is like you drinking poison, and hoping your enemy dies!
So Paul gives us a better model to follow, the example of Jesus: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32, ESV).
PRAYER PROMPT: Father, we thank you for the Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption. We thank you for Jesus Christ who forgave our sin and paid our penalty on the cross. Please help us to forgive one another as you have forgiven us.
Adron Robinson is pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills and president of the Illinois Baptist State Association.