One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Super Friends. It was about a group of DC Comic superheroes who join together to form the Justice League. It had all of the popular DC guys… Superman, Batman & Robin, and Wonder Woman to name a few. I loved how they would inevitably catch the bad guys and make them pay for the crimes they had committed.
I vividly remember losing interest in the mid-80’s when the plot began to change. Suddenly, the bad guys didn’t have to pay for their crimes! Invariably, the bad guys would get caught, only to discover that they were well-intentioned “mad-scientists” and “good guys, gone bad.” The Justice League and the bad guys would come to a peaceful conclusion, and everyone would go on their merry way.
I hated those endings! Where’s the justice?!? A crime was committed and they should pay!
I think that’s why we have such a tough time with this whole forgiveness thing; it’s just not the way it’s supposed to be! But once you taste the sweet side of true forgiveness, there’s no going back!
So how do we start the process of true Biblical forgiveness?
First, choose to forgive. This step is the simplest… and perhaps the most difficult. Choose not to seek vengeance. Choose to release that person from retribution. Choose to begin to desire God’s mercy for them. Choose to forgive!
Secondly, line up your actions with your choice to forgive. Trust me, your emotions will fluctuate, but you can decide if your actions line up with your feelings or if they line up with the choice you made to forgive. You can choose to walk by the Spirit or walk by the flesh. As you learn to consistently choose “Christ in me” (Galatians 2:20) over your flesh, you will see that the emotions you feel will begin to line up with the choice you made to forgive.
Life abundantly is ultimately the goal. True, complete forgiveness is a HUGE piece of that puzzle! Let me explain what true, complete and total forgiveness is. This occurs when your choice to forgive, along with your actions of forgiveness, allow you to experience true joy for the person who wronged you. Complete forgiveness allows you to genuinely celebrate God’s grace in their lives, and it allows you to hurt with them when they hurt.
Jesus put it this way in Matthew 5:43-45, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”
“Where’s the justice?!?” There is no justice, only grace. But it is life and life to the full!
Missed Sunday’s message? Watch or listen here.