Being Faithful in Forgiveness
By Benjamin H. Liles
But do not forget [ignore; miss] this one thing, ·dear friends [L beloved]: To the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day [C our perception of time is not the same as God’s; Ps. 90:4]. ~ 2 Peter 3:8, Expanded
A couple of nights ago my wife, Tanya, and I were talking about 2 Peter 3. And in its context, it looks like Peter is saying we shouldn't mock or put God down simply because He chooses the moment in which to act. More specifically, I told her, "God is eternal, so we don't necessarily see things as He does." How did I come to that conclusion? Peter says, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: To the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day."
If I was in a friendship with you, and I told you, "Take care of my property until I come back, and give you your just payment." No matter how long it took me to come back, would you sit and mock me, knowing when I come back--although I delay returning--you will get your just desserts (so to speak)? I believe we both know that friendship would be terminated rather quickly once I know the truth of how you truly feel about me. God is no more or any less the same in that aspect.
It's interesting to note that after Peter says what he does from 2 Peter 3:1-9, he tells us, "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?" (2 Peter 3:11-12, New King James). He's given us the keys of the kingdom. He commands us to live as He does and has.
Not only has He restored us to Him through the Son, Jesus the Messiah. Not only has He commanded we love others as He loved us, as evidenced in the sacrifice the Messiah rendered at the cross. But we are to be called His. As His Church, His people, we are to model the very things He has shown to us. It doesn't seem too long ago that I wrote, "We need to understand that as Christians we are to live our lives pleasing to Jesus Christ. It means that when we are saved by and through His merciful and loving graciousness which He gave us at the cross we desire to live a life that pleases Him. It means putting off sin, its effects, and walking in newness of life as He gave it in abundance to us" (The Messiah Will Come Again).
So, we should live our lives as much as God is holy. He has been more than patient with us so should we ought to be as well. We cannot go around acting like, "Oh, yes, He won't return at any moment, so what you owe me you owe me now!" In fact, Jesus had this to say about doing that kind of thing: "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matthew 18:32-33, 35, New King James).
I know Peter isn't talking about us forgiving one another in his letter to all of us. But when we act like Jesus isn't coming back to fully restore us to the Kingdom, and to judge the nations, he might as well be talking about our need to forgive one another all outstanding debts. Why else would Peter have written the words "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13, New King James)? We aren't just to have His merciful compassion within our hearts, but also His righteousness. It means where He forgives us, we ought to forgive as well. It's not a suggestion. It's a command to see how faithful we will be until His return in guarding and tending His garden and flock.
Father, You who are holy, mighty, and just, forgive me for when I act out in the wrong ways. You are far more loving and merciful than I ever could long for or even aspire to. The fact I come to You daily, asking for Your guidance in how I am to live toward others as well as with myself, shows You how much I want to be ruled rightly be You. I want it to be seen that I stand with and for You. I will be honest enough to admit that I am not any better than anyone else. I much rather be truthful about how I feel I stand with You and before You; I am a sinner and sinful. Yes, You may call me Your child, but I want others to see You and Your love in my heart. If I don't have You in my life, or for it being evident, then I have absolutely nothing and no standing with or before You. Continue showing me, Your child and servant, how to live before You in humility and in love. In Jesus I pray. Amen.