Love forgives continually and it forgives comprehensively. Forgiveness wipes clean the slate of offense, thus it is freeing for everyone. Forgiveness is the heartbeat of Jesus. Some of His last words on the cross requested forgiveness from God for the ignorant acts of His offenders (Luke 23:34). Christ’s greatest act of love was the forgiveness He extended by His voluntary death on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus described His own act of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus is the epitome of love and forgiveness; He owns the trademark and branding on love.
Forgiveness is the fuel for living a life free from the clutter of cutting words and unjust acts. A life without forgiveness is a lonely life locked up in the solitary confinement of sin. Forgiveness flows when you have been authentically and thoroughly forgiven. Half-hearted forgiveness is the destiny of those who have not tasted the tender touch of forgiveness, grace, and mercy that comes from the heavenly Father. Unless the forgiveness of God has graced your heart and soul, your capacity for forgiveness will be foreign and futile.
It is the grace of God and faith in Him that fuels forgiveness in followers of Christ. The job description of Christians is to love with forgiveness because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13). Think about the depth and breadth of your forgiveness. Ignorant acts, they are forgiven; drunkenness, it’s forgiven; lust, it’s forgiven; immorality, it’s forgiven; hate, it’s forgiven; ignoring God, it’s forgiven; unbelief, it’s forgiven. Love forgives because it has been forgiven.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
Remember where you were BC (before Christ), and reflect on where you would be today without His love and forgiveness. Recall what it was like to be lost and bound up in your sin, and celebrate how far God has brought you. Love is extremely grateful for God’s goodness and redeeming power. Forgiveness is second nature and somewhat automatic for followers of Jesus who are consumed with Christ’s love. They are enamored with God’s love for them and others. When you have been forgiven much, you love much (Luke 7:47). Your capacity to love is directly tied to your willingness to receive Christ’s forgiveness. Accept the Lord’s forgiveness so that you can extend forgiveness. Let go of unforgiveness and replace it with His unconditional love.
Love looks for excuses to eliminate hard feelings, as it replaces resentment and bitterness with love and forgiveness. Love by forgiving your family member who may not even know they hurt your heart. Love by forgiving your friend who violated your confidence. Love by forgiving your father and mother who are preoccupied parents. Love by forgiving your child who is ungrateful and selfish. Love by forgiving yourself for stupid decisions. Forgiveness forgets the past, engages in the present, and hopes in the future. Extend forgiveness indiscriminately and receive it graciously. Delete any record of wrongs from the hard drive of your heart. Call, write, or initiate a freeing conversation of forgiveness. Reject the temptation for indignation and humbly receive God’s grace instead. Love liberally by regularly relying on forgiveness. Love forgives.