Have you ever said or done something to someone that you immediately wished you could undo or take back? And to make it even worse . . . this person is someone you really care about.
You pause anticipating the reaction you’re going to get but much to your surprise something marvelous happens. This gentle soul just lets it go. Because they love you, they choose not to be offended.
And you’ve been blessed to receive a wonderful gift!
Maybe you’re recalling a time with you were in the shoes of the forgiver choosing to react with grace and forgiveness rather than reacting with anger and frustration.
In this next portion of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wanted these readers to know that unity in Christ does not just happen, we have to work at it.
Well, Paul wrote:
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Ephesians 4:2
I want that, don’t you?
I want people to “make allowances” for my “faults” because they love me!
Paul knew that is the best way for it to be possible for God’s people to live together in “unity” is to forgive and love like Jesus.
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.Ephesians 4:3–6
Why did God inspire Paul to encourage people to live together in unity . . . to love like Jesus?
Because we are family! We are all God’s children united by His Spirit through faith in Jesus. So, rather than focusing on our weaknesses and the things that divide us, you and I are called to pray for each other and “make allowances for each other’s faults” because the love of Christ is with and within us.
And Paul says we can do this when we:
Let the Spirit renew [our] thoughts and attitudes.Ephesians 4:23
A Prayer to Forgive and Love Like Jesus
Father, please forgive me. Rather than forgiving the way You want me to . . . the way You have forgiven me, I am often judgmental and quick to take offense. I want people to “make allowances” for my faults and yet, I’m not always willing to do the same for them. I am so sorry.
Your love is faithful and unfailing . . . demonstrated in and through Jesus. Your grace and mercy cover my life with everything I need to live in the freedom I have been given in Jesus. And Your Spirit makes it possible for me to live with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23a)
In Christ Jesus, You have given us everything we need to live united by Your love. You give us the strength to forgive one another. You promise to give me all I need to be humble, gentle, and patient like Jesus.
I come to You today asking for Your help. Please empower me with Your love. Make me like Jesus. Help me to be humble and gentle, and patient. Help me forgive the way You forgive. Help me make every effort to do all that I can to maintain unity and peace among Your children. Help me SEEK You first and trust You to give me everything I need to trust and obey Your will. I pray in the name of Jesus, the One who makes this possible. Amen.
You and I are forgiven because God chooses to forgive us through His mercy and love. The more we recognize the degree to which are loved and forgiven the more we will want to love and forgive others.
And guess what?
Forgiving like Jesus blesses us!
I’ve been testing it out lately and I’ve learned that when I choose not to be offended . . . I often receive grace in return. When I make allowances for someone else’s faults remembering that I haven’t had their experiences or walked in their shoes . . . I often receive kindness and goodness in return.
God knows that when we do things His way – life is better. And it’s possible that other people will want to know more about the One who gives us what we need to be humble, gentle, patient, and forgiving. It’s possible they just might want to more about Jesus.
On today’s note write:
Today I will SEEK the Spirit’s help to forgive and love like Jesus.
May God be with you and bless you with everything you need to live with His forgiveness and love.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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