June 28, 2023

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, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

1. REALIZE HOW MUCH GOD HAS FORGIVEN YOU. In the Bible, Peter asked how many times he had to forgive people, and Jesus told the story of a king who forgave and released a man who owed him a lot of money. Rather than be thankful, this forgiven man turned around and found other people who owed him money and aggressively demanded payment, even though it was far less than what he had owed the king (Matthew 18:21-35). Since God forgave us this 90 billion-dollar debt of sin, how much more should we forgive nickel-and-dime offenses of people around us? When we get our eyes on Jesus and realize how much we are forgiven and loved, we can forgive everything else.

2. RESIST THE STRIFE TRAP. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you” (Ephesians 5:1a). Walking in love will keep us from being led by offenses. The Bible tells us that the devil only comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He tries to sow discord and strife among Christians. I have seen so many people leave marriages, churches, schools, and jobs because of offenses. There are better ways to be led than that, like being led by the Holy Spirit and by love. When Jesus told us that we could speak to our mountains and command them to be removed, the last caveat is that when we pray, we must forgive if we have anything against anyone (Mark 11:22-26). The times I have meditated on the negative have caused hindrances in my Christian walk. But when we meditate on and understand love, it closes the door to the devil.

3. BE READY WITH A GOOD WORD. The greatest way to share Jesus is to look at everybody through the eyes of love everywhere you go because that is somebody for whom Jesus died. They may be different from you. They may be acting out in ways that chafe against your convictions. They may be withdrawn and harsh and generate rejection. But you and I can walk into every situation and trust that God will give us a word of edification for someone (Ephesians 4:29). Jesus said that’s how people will know we are His disciples – that we have love for one another (John 13:35).

God bless you!
Pastor Jeff Perry

Pray this Prayer:
God, thank You for loving me and forgiving me. Help me to imitate You, as Your beloved child, and walk in love just as Jesus loved me and gave himself up as a sacrifice (Ephesians 5:1-2). I pray that my love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that I may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God in Jesus’ Name, amen (Philippians 1:9-11).

for·give, verb
1. To give up resentment against or stop wanting to punish (someone) for an offense or fault; pardon.
2. To relent in being angry or in wishing to exact punishment for (an offense or fault).
3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).

Copyright © 2023 St. Louis Family Church, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. “Forgive.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Harper Collins Publishers, https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=forgive&submit.x=42&submit.y=24. Accessed 21 Jun. 2023. Print.