Identify: Forgive as Forgiven

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Do you think of yourself as a forgiven person? I’m not asking if you believe God has forgiven all of your sins. I know you believe that if you’re a Christian. I mean, do you tend to think of yourself as someone who has been forgiven for great and terrible sin?

identify_350I’m asking because those of us who became Christians as kids – and never got around to rebelling in any obvious, public way by trying out some of the “big sins” – we can have a hard time really thinking of ourselves as sinners. What have we done that’s so wrong, after all?

That thinking is a problem. Every sin is an offense against the character of our Father, reason enough for us to go to hell, and for Jesus to die on the cross. Our pride is no better than sexual immorality, fits of rage, or public drunkenness.

Here’s the other problem: If you don’t think of yourself as a forgiven person, it’s much harder to forgive others. And when you do, you think of it as a big favor instead of seeing it as the least and most obvious thing you could do as someone who has been forgiven for a stinking, seething mountain of ugly sin.

Think: On a scale from 1 to 10, how often are you aware that God has forgiven you for great sins you were helpless to pay for yourself? How hard is it for you to forgive others? Do you see a connection between those two things?

Pray: Ask God to help you to bear with others and forgive everyone just as God has forgiven you.

Do: Read Matthew 18:21-35 to hear a story Jesus told about a guy who refused to forgive a small debt after he’d been forgiven for a big one.