By Benjamin H. Liles
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32, New King James
I want to admit that exhibiting the love of Jesus isn't always easy for me to do. There are times where my wife, Tanya, and I start talking about something and we get into arguing. We love one another as husband and wife, but we can argue and become divisive just as much as other couples do as well. I think a large amount of it is me and how I handle what she tells me. It's definitely a work in progress Jesus is working in and through me on a daily basis.
I said all of that to say this: Paul is saying to the church at Ephesus, "Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:25-27). The short of it is we need to forgive one another continually. We're not always going to like something that was done, but it doesn't mean we ought to go around demanding our own way.
I love how Jesus put it when the disciples asked him how they were to pray from the Lord's Prayer, "And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation" (Luke 11:4, Berean Study). It wasn't that long ago I felt led to write these words, "I also wonder how much we can actually bless one another with the gifts with which we've been given? And what about sustaining one another in faith? I mean we can use our words to heal and bless" (Healing Ties that Bind).
It stands to reason that in order for us as Christians to be forgiving of on another to find ways in the treatment of each other. If we want to be truly intentional then we ought to bring out life from one to another. We speak life into someone and they will speak life back to us. So, rather than finding a need to forgive one another we exhibit the love of Jesus as He originally did for our behalf. Through this we fulfill His command: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35, New American Standard).
And in that same vein Jesus modelled what love is. He laid down His own life, not to make Himself more than who He was. He did it so we may have life and to the fullest with the Father. He put Himself on the cross, taking our punishment, in order that we have access to and with the Father. Without His death on the cross we have and are nothing before the Father. But thanks be to God the Father that Jesus died so we do have entrance with Him.
Father, I thank You and worship You for being who You are to me. You are both loving and just. For everything I say and do You discipline me to keep me on the same path that You led Jesus on. Help me to walk in You as Jesus did. He was able to sacrifice Himself even when it was hard to love those who were hurting You. It was time to show them all, however, that in You we find healing and forgiveness. It is for that reason Jesus died in my place. For that I am thankful. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.