By Pastor Vinnie Cappetta
"Forgiving Reflects the Character of God"
Ephesians 4:30; Matthew 18:21-35
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
Can you imagine if you missed some house payments and your mortgage company decided to foreclose on you and sell the house at auction? What would you do? You might write a letter explaining your financial situation and stating why the mortgage company should give you more time to pay. What if the company decided that because of your financial hardship they would forgive the entire debt and bring your balance to zero?
Part of your financial hardship stemmed from the fact that you loaned several thousand dollars to a friend who needed to buy a car but never paid you back. After being forgiven of hundreds of thousands of dollars by your mortgage company, how ethical would it be for you to sue your friend for repayment of his loan to you?
God in his loving-kindness has forgiven you of all your sins. You could never pay Him back for all that you owe Him. The question is, “Will you extend this kind of forgiveness to the people around you?” Imagine how it grieves the Holy Spirit to see you unwilling to forgive others when you have been forgiven so much.
Some time ago I sat with a former coworker. She alleged that our boss had wronged her in many ways. In fact, she was in the process of bringing a lawsuit against him. Not only did she have a sour attitude toward him, she wanted everyone else to have the same opinion of him. She began telling me stories of how my boss wasn’t really interested in me but that he was more interested in money that might come to me from a legal matter. Listening to her stories, I began to wonder whether or not she was telling the truth and whether or not I could forgive my boss if what she was saying was the truth.
Paul says that we are sealed unto the day of redemption. This means that we are identified as God’s very own possessions. How could I harbor ill will against my boss? My forgiveness or lack of forgiveness is a direct reflection on my Heavenly Father. If I want others to see what a great God He is, then I need to seek His power to forgive those who have wronged me. In this way, I will be reflecting his character.
Something to ponder…If unforgiveness grieves the Spirit, does forgiveness make Him smile? I think it does.