God is a God of love, therefore, He is always ready to forgive and connect with us despite our shortcomings or sin. When we position our heart before the Lord, to receive what only He can give us, it would look something like this: “Ok God, I need Your touch here, I surrender to You – show me Lord where I need forgiveness. I receive all that you desire to give me.” When we know exactly where we need Him to forgive us, then we can receive it with a joyful heart as He lifts us out of our shame and guilt. The moment we have freely received God’s mercy and forgiveness, that standard has been set for us to freely release the same measure to those we are connected with.
“But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.” (Eph 4:32 TPT)
When it’s challenging for me to forgive someone, I picture Jesus on the cross dying for my sin. When I see and value His heart, I cannot withhold the mercy He gave me. The more we walk with Jesus as our friend, the more we understand His heart for us… We can learn to love because He first loved us. Because of His grace to allow us to connect with Him through His forgiveness toward us, we are empowered to walk in His nature, as His children, in His likeness and become merciful as He is merciful.
“Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance” (Eph 5:1-2).
Isn’t that just amazing? We can know Jesus in His mercy, and reflect it to others.
Reflecting the mercy of Jesus through forgiveness is pleasing to the Lord, and allows us to love as Christ loves. As we release forgiveness, Jesus, in His mercy, cleanses us by sculpting our ash-heaps of pain, shame and guilt into a beautiful diamond worthy of praise!
Because Jesus Christ purchased us with His pierced hands, nail-torn feet, and a crown of thorns, we can bond ourselves to His kindness and mercy. During this holiday season, I challenge us to slow down in our “New York minute” world, and see things through His world view.
Take a moment…Embrace just how precious you are to the King of Mercy and Kindness… Think about family, friends, and even those who have hurt you. As Christ has called us His friends, He is calling us to walk in complete forgiveness for the sake of relational restoration, and personal healing. This is what He died for; this is what matters to Him most:
“I have never called you ‘servants,’ because a master doesn’t confide in his servants, and servants don’t always understand what the master is doing. But I call you my most intimate friends, for I reveal to you everything that I’ve heard from my Father. You didn’t choose me, but I’ve chosen and commissioned you to go into the world to bear fruit. And your fruit will last, because whatever you ask of my Father, for my sake, he will give it to you! So this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!” (John 15:15-17 TPT)
A family member of mine once reminded me not to forget where I came from… Although we don’t dwell in our past, we can acknowledge what we didn’t have prior to meeting God, and be thankful for what we have now because of what He has done on our behalf. That is our testimony! Let us not forget the beauty that comes with forgiveness and mercy. We were once blind, but now we see.
C.S. Lewis said it like this,
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but by it I see everything else. We need help to see, we need His vision to walk as sons and daughters of light in His love to love as He loves.”
Who do you need to love today? Who can you extend His mercy to? It’s a time to heal and to open the gift of His mercy—A gift that keeps on giving.