Character of the New Man
Colossians 3:12-15, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
This week we saw an unspeakable and horrendous crime committed in South Carolina, where 9 families lost their loved ones at the hands of an immature cowardly evil murderer. What we witnessed in the next couple of days was forgiveness by those families to this senseless murderer.
Some in the media questioned why or how could they forgive this mass-murderer so quickly. This was not done for show, it was not done because they wanted to appear to be Christian nor were they trying to gain any points with God.
They forgave this killer because THEY have been forgiven by God. The only way one could forgive this so quickly is to realize the tremendous horrendous sin debt they themselves have been forgiven by the perfect spotless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ on the Cross.
If forgiveness is withheld, it is telling God that your justice is better than His. That you seek your own brand of justice and that your forgiveness trumps His. In this circumstance these folks were put to the ultimate test of faith by God. Were they going to with-hold forgiveness and unmask their unbelief, or were they going to show the world their faith in Jesus Christ.
They showed their faith!
A newsman described this forgiveness as “supernatural”. He was correct! By the grace of God working through these saddened families was the only way forgiveness like this could happen. These families didn’t gain a point from God nor were they seeking merit. This was done to His glory and to His glory alone. Yes, make no mistake, this is how God unconditionally forgives a sinner!
To get to this level of forgiveness was no mere sudden event. These Christians practiced forgiveness in their daily lives. They were already in the practice of removing the burden from others, so when this very sudden tragic horrible murder took place they were prepared.
You must always be prepared. Get into the practice of forgiving others. It maybe something simple or large, but you never know when a test from God will come. We must and I repeat must forgive others just as God as forgiven us!
Forgiveness does not mean you don’t mourn, it does not mean you don’t learn either. It means you have removed the debt from the offender and put it into God’s hands. You trust that God will repay. You may remember the circumstance as well, but any ill feeling, any revenge sought, any hurtful behavior in return will not be placed on the offender.
In a horrible tragedy as we witnessed, the trust must immediately go to God. Remember the sin debt you have been forgiven of. Trust in your guiding Holy Spirit. God’s glory is shown like a very bright beacon in this dark circumstance when people witness His forgiveness.
Again, as Christians we must prepare ourselves for these tests in forgiveness. And friends, it is one of the hardest tests you will ever go through. If you love the forgiveness granted you, if you love Jesus Christ, get into the practice daily of forgiveness. Is there someone you have not forgiven? What is stopping you today to forgive them!
Please pray for the families of this tragedy. Pray for their strength. Pray that you too will forgive as Christ has forgiven.
God’s glory is shown each time you unconditionally forgive another!
Ephesians 4: 32, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”