Have you ever tried to forgive someone who badly hurt you, but your heart just would not let it go? My goal for the Light Devotional this week is therefore to help you encounter the relational love of Jesus. Jesus loves you so much that He wants to help you deal with the issues of your life. And this includes the power to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”. The key is this: Forgiveness needs to take place on a relational level (in the heart), not a topical level (in the head).
I will give you a simple example: A pastor I read about was about to leave church to go home and just as he was about to go out the door, the secretary said, “Pastor there is a man that just came into the office. He says he is going to end his life, and you better see him.” So the pastor went back in his study and took the man with him, sat down, ministered to him and it took a couple of hours. The man was delivered from demonic spirits, received the Lord, was born again, filled with the Holy Spirit and his life was absolutely changed. The pastor was so excited about what the Lord had just done in this man’s life, but he was two hours late when he got home. His wife was angry, and she said, “Why did you come home so late?” The topical level of communication is about being late, i.e. “why were you late?”
Here is what I want to share with you: You cannot deal with forgiveness on a topical level because it does not work. The problem is on the relational level in the heart (unspoken), whereby this wife can interpret this pastor’s behaviour as “You are doing the work of God, so God obviously doesn’t consider me important either”, or “God doesn’t consider me valuable, I’m just a burden to you.” Or she could just feel like, “This is not the first time you have come home late. You come home late consistently, because you put all the affairs of church above your family and above me.” So, the relational message sent to her was: “I don’t love you and you have no value.”
On a relational level, every communication and message we send to one another are in the (invisible) realm of identity – the value attributed to a person (from the heart). What that means is that in every action, in every attitude, in every word, there is an underlying message that conveys one of two things: Satan’s message or God’s message to another person:
Satan’s message is this: “I don’t care about you, you have no value to me, and I don’t love you, so I don’t care about you.” That is Satan’s message.
God’s message is, “I love you, and I deeply care about you, I deeply care about your feelings, you mean a lot to me, your feelings are important to me.”
You can solve matters of forgiveness quickly if you understand how to shift or move the conversation from topical (interpreted in the mind) to relational (interpreted in our hearts), because the issue lies not in whether he was right or wrong to stay and minister to the man. The crux of the problem are the feelings (inside) that he generated in the heart of his wife on a relational level. And if he deals with that, he will be able to solve the problem from the inside-out. This is not about proving who is right or wrong, but about accurately conveying God’s message of love with humility and integrity to the other person. Once you realise this, we learn to deal with hurts and confusion as part and parcel of our Christian walk. The Good News is that Jesus does not expect us to be perfect before we come to Him in faith. He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us along in our progress. We can actively pursue forgiveness as a lifestyle by turning to God as our refuge for unconditional love and forgiveness. And having received that love and forgiveness, we are to release it to others as well.
Forgiveness is therefore not only about forgiving the offender in our minds, but God cares more about developing our wholeness as a person, the restoration of our relationship with Him, and letting His loving kindness overflow to the people around us. For us to truly become “The Light of Christ Everywhere” – being loved by the Lord, and loving for the Lord, in and from our hearts!
Monday: Ephesians 4:32
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Tuesday: Proverbs 4:23
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
Wednesday: Psalm 86:5
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Thursday: Ephesians 1:7-8
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
Friday: Mark 11:25
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
Saturday: Colossians 1:13-14
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Sunday: Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Bro David Jeremiah Mok