by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
Along the path of my walk with Jesus, I have found joy in the unfathomable expression of His love and blessing in my life. His continual faithfulness has led me into a trusting relationship where I am able to proclaim “Your perfect will be done!”, and when my immature attitude was more akin to “Fine! Have it your way!” His grace ministered to me. Jesus and I have had a lot of fun, and we’ve faced a lot of fears. He has answered my “part the waters” prayers, and my silliest “why not” prayers. He knows when I need to be refreshed, and the right time to take me through the thorny patches into further spiritual growth.
During an amazing season of growth along my path I was stopped dead in my tracks by a boulder of un-forgiveness blocking the way. I knew this boulder well; had kicked it around when it was a mere pebble, and over the years, carried it with me on occasion (not ever realizing how heavy it was becoming). It had a specific person’s name written on it, along with the offenses of said person. I tried to go around it, over it, and if I could have somehow tunneled underneath it I would have given it a go. God placed it securely there, and I knew it wasn’t moving until I dealt with it.
God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were determined, and guided me through Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” into Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I had been living by the world’s definition of forgiveness with its rules, strings attached, and hoops to jump through. The correcting words of scripture caused my heart to awaken to the fact that godly forgiveness begins and ends with love. Love is always the goal, not validation, justice, or punishment.
This month’s character trait of forgiveness is a vital practice of discipleship, one by which our relationship with God depends on, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15. Godly forgiveness is quick to forgive an offense (Col. 3:13), delights in showing mercy, casting iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19), does not repay evil for evil (Rom. 12:17), prays for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:28), and requires us to confess our own sins (John 1:9). The act of giving and seeking forgiveness is perhaps one of the most difficult assignments on our walk with Jesus, yet if we endeavor to begin and end with love, we will see its fruit, experience its healing, and live in the freedom forgiveness produces.
May we be blessed peacemakers, forgiving as we have been forgiven.
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal