But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
The victims of Charleston forgave the young boy who came into their church and destroyed their families’ lives. Not only did they ask him to ‘repent’ of the trauma he left on those he murdered but they also showed a remorseful forgiveness. This not only had a profound affect on the community itself but on the victims who showed love to their enemy. Some may say that they are outraged by the non-dislike these families aren’t showing but others may be surprised at how having so much faith and love can overcome hate. This can be inspiring for so many us and it can be an example to how God would want us to treat the people who do the worst to us. In another article (Christianity today) Michael Wear wrote: “They did not forgive (the killer) to express the values of their race or to represent the character of their country, but to be faithful to their God”. Forgiveness doesn’t only remove baggage off ones shoulder but it shows how much love a person has towards people and more so towards God. Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing to do but what it does, is it leaves you with indescribable peace. It doesn’t excuse what the person has done, but it means that an individual can move on and live their lives with no bitterness and hatred. You cannot love God and hate people, Love comes from God and hatred comes from the devil. He plans to fill you up with so much hatred that you start to loose focus on the true identity that you are. [1 John 4:7] Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
God created us to reconcile with our enemies so that we are able to move forward with our healthy lives. He doesn’t expect you to forget what the person has done but he doesn’t expect you to dwell on the actions of this other person. Thinking over and over about what the person has done wrong to you will only cause you to think negatively and if it’s in the past, we ought to let go and let GOD! What is so fun about thinking of the past, nothing is there for us anymore. The devil will always keep knocking on our doors and we dare not to open! (Philippians 3:13)-Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
We shouldn’t forgive because we want God to forgive us, we should forgive because it comes from our hearts and we’ve allowed ourselves not to hold a grudge against the person anymore. I used to do this myself; I would forgive the person only so that God would forgive me and during that moment, I was still angry with the person and I was still thinking about their actions/words from which they had done in the past. I spoke to a friend who made me realise that I was using Gods forgiveness in a selfish way. They say: “un-forgiveness is choosing to stay trapped in a jail cell of bitterness, serving time for someone else”. Un-forgiveness is basically poison; you don’t help yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. Un-forgiveness actually blocks the relationship you have with Jesus and its important to consider it when comes to people who do wrong to you. It gives an advantage for Satan to walk over you and your emotions. Try to forgive someone today and see what happens to your life as well as the relationship you have with Christ.
Lets all reflect on how much persecution Jesus took whilst he was on that cross, he could of came down but he watched everyone and even those closest to him reject, kill, and torment him and still he asked his father to forgive those people. Those no excuse in not forgiving our brothers and sisters and there’s no excuse for hatred. Let peace and love rule in your hearts.
May the peace of God be with you!
[Ephesians 4:31-32] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you