HARDER THAN FORGIVENESS
Finally, it’s over. You’ve done the impossible by forgiving the unforgiveable. Now you can put that person out of your mind, and never see them again. But God comes along and says you’re not done! Why would God expect more when you’ve already done more than most humans ever accomplish? Because He commands us to live out His image. He commands us to bless because He blessed you and me beyond forgiving us.
Christ’s payment for our sin on the Cross mercifully spared us an eternity in hell. That was only the beginning. He gifted us with a lifetime of grace to overcome our weaknesses and sins, comfort and direction through the perils of life, plus His Holy Spirit living in us. He wants to extend grace through us by the Holy Spirit.
Peter closes his sacred writings in 2 Peter 3:18, with “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” Grace comes before knowledge because knowledge without grace can become legalism. Grace comes in a moment while knowledge takes time. Do we want grace flowing out of our lives more than we want knowledge? If so, where do we start?
The growth principle applies to anything we want to master, whether athletics, playing the piano or perfecting a surgical procedure: practice, practice, practice. Growing in grace begins with small things, like tucking a sweet in the lunch bag of a complaining, ungrateful husband, or tipping extra to the negligent waitress or picking up the slack for a surly co-worker. Day after day, little by little. Repetition strengthens our resolve and builds our character so we do not flinch when the next mountain of unforgiveness threatens our future.
Grace completes forgiveness. It’s an outward expression of an inward commitment. Grace brings clarity to forgiveness. It aggravates enemy attempts to discredit or assign suspicious motives for the other person to imagine. Grace baffles those who oppose us. It befuddles the enemy’s responses. It blesses those who witness it. Romans 2:4 says it leads to repentance.
Choosing the right blessing requires hearing from God. God has specific ideas of what, when, where and how we are to bless others. Apart from God’s direction, we can create a disaster for ourselves or others. Hoping to bless a dangerous, abusive parent in person may end up inviting further abuse. God’s choice to bless that person may strictly be prayer. Approaching someone at work or in a group might humiliate or embarrass them. Timing is crucial. God’s says that “in the fullness of time” He sent His Son. God alone knows how to maximize your obedience for the sake of the other person and Himself. Be sure to ask Him.
How might giving a blessing beyond forgiveness affect you? How might receiving a blessing affect you?