Living in a Constant State of Forgiveness
Over the past several months, I have been keenly aware of forgiveness. Over and over, God has laid it on my heart and given me many examples in my life to try it out myself. I believe it’s something I desperately need to work on. And I believe, if you are reading this, God is laying it on your heart, too.
After a separation of just slightly over a year, my husband and I were restored. It was a miracle in every sense of the word. Standing was hard, excruciating at times, but for me there was no other way.
The real test of my faith came when my husband returned home. For three or four months we lived in what felt like pure bliss. Kisses in the morning, lunch dates frequently, and time on the couch to talk at night. I prayed that it would never end. It seemed that we agreed on everything and if we didn’t, it was somehow easily solved.
And then it happened. We agreed to our very first act of ministry together. We were adequately warned, but not physically or mentally prepared. How could we be? It was a new era in our lives. A new moment to be had and a step in the right direction of our faith. But that step in Jesus’ direction, put a target on our back. It is something that could not be avoided.
Somehow in my brain, I see some alarm going off in Satan’s lair and announcing our decision to live for God. Satan calls an immediate board meeting of his toughest entities. Anger, Strife, and Depression all have a spot at the table. This is a big one for them. It’s going to take some time, but if conspired correctly, has the potential to take out TWO, not just one, of God’s people, along with a slew of generations to come.
For us, that board meeting resulted here on earth as confusion, misunderstanding, and living more in our heads instead of in God’s head, His word. Little things became big things. We talked less, thought more. And then, because we were in our own brains, we started to feel the doubt creep in. Satan’s intention was to make us feel like giving up was the right answer.
But our God never gives up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. Our God doesn’t give up on our spouses, even if they have strayed what seems like too far. Even when it seems like too much- too much pain, too much anger, too much strife- it is never too much for God. He tells us in His word, that He is “the source of all comfort.” (2 Cor. 1:3)
So how do we get that comfort? In 2 Corinthians 1:4-5, He tells us through Paul, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.”
So in my interpretation, getting comfort in rough times, means being open to be used by God, not by wallowing in our pain and discomfort. If we are open to His promptings and not full of ourselves, we will be able to use the pain we have experienced to comfort others. God will then give us more comfort.
But being open to being used by God for comfort doesn’t just mean that you comfort the easy cases. Comforting also means comforting those who need it most. Maybe that is your spouse. Maybe that is your mother-in-law, who approves of your divorce. Maybe that is even the non-covenant.
It’s easy to comfort those that you love and who are in agreement with you. “But God, You can’t be asking us to comfort our enemies. And what about our family when we are at odds with them?” In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul speaks about a man who has hurt the Corinthians. In verse 7 he urges them to forgive and comfort this man, who we are told very little about. Paul writes, “Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement.” Does allowing this man to be overcome with discouragement, allow the Corinthians to be overcome with discouragement, too?
I think that it is a blessing to be able to comfort anyone in a time of need, but I am thinking that God would ask us to do the same for our adversaries, as Paul does the Corinthians. So maybe our comfort starts out with forgiveness. Maybe then when we forgive those around us it will be easier to comfort them. When we comfort them, we are comforted ourselves and the body of Christ is in us.
Later on in verses 10 and 11 of 2 Corinthians, Paul exposes the real problem. He says, “When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” So for me, the thought of giving up, was a scheme I needed to identify. Giving up is not the right answer. Pressing through is. Allowing confusion, strife, depression and disagreement to overcome me is not the right answer. Going to God is. Going to God means letting forgiveness seep in, instead of what Satan has planned for me.
Outsmarting Satan means we must know about and be aware of his schemes. When you step out in faith for Christ, know that you now have a target on your back. Standing for your marriage? Big target on your back! Speaking God’s truth about covenant? Big target on your back! So as my husband and I made our first public re-commitment of covenant, we expected a lashing. What we choose to do with it was the real issue.
We can choose to fight one another, as Satan wants, and give in to anger, strife, and depression. That path, I am convinced, will lead us to constant frustration and eventually keep us from God’s calling. Or, we can choose to see the devil’s scheme for what it is – a trick to get our eyes off Jesus and onto our circumstances. If we, instead, choose forgiveness, we will be comforted as we comfort one another. It’s as if we are taking that target off of our backs and putting it on Satan’s, where it belongs. We are saying to him, “Satan, we know your schemes and we are not going to fall for them.”
Friends, please don’t let Satan outsmart you. Forgive now. Forgive often. Forgive, even when repentance hasn’t taken place. ESPECIALLY, when repentance hasn’t taken place. Reach out to those MOST in need – the sick, the hungry, the needy, the deceived. Walking in forgiveness means forgiving everyone, all the time, no matter the offense. Living in a state of forgiveness is a choice you make. It is something that you will have to choose over and over. Living in a state of forgiveness means putting your hurt aside and attending to someone else who is hurting. As we learn to walk in forgiveness we learn to walk like Jesus. When we learn to walk like Jesus, our burdens become less and we ultimately find comfort. I am convinced, as you learn to forgive, you will find comfort in your circumstances and Jesus right there beside you.
As for me, I am learning these things as well. And although I’m not always good at it, I know where my path leads. When I stay on the path of forgiveness, I whip that target off my back and proclaim the name of Jesus. When I proclaim the name of Jesus, I am ready to live like He did. Forgiving always. Never stopping. Never, ever, giving up.
Author: Deana Bell
Thx Deana! Third time in 24 hrs that I have heard that our God never gives up. Also, forgiving others, especially when we donât understand why. I discovered a long time ago that forgiving doesnât make the situation right but, like you say, so we can be comforted as well as be obedient to Gods redemptive plan. Appreciate the encouragement.
Forgiveness is such an important part of restoration. It is the reason that God gave us his one and only son. It is given - not earned and our job to model that here on earth. Let's forgive someone today. Who knows, maybe we'll be the one that is set free.
Beautifully put Deana! Thank you for the awesome reminder.ð
Deana says "You are welcome!".