Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Since this is the final week of the month of LOVE, God led me to yet another scripture on the subject. He also gave me "a good talking too," as my grandmother used to say, about forgiveness and what it means to cover sin with love.
This Week's Scripture: 1 Peter 4:8-10
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
The obvious meaning of this would be that Jesus' love covered us completely in our sin and saved us from eternal death and damnation and so we need to do the same. While that is true and is the ultimate reason to love and trust Jesus, God pressed on my heart a deeper meaning to be discussed this week. Forgiveness!
Recently, someone I love dearly, hurt me in a way that I can't wrap my head around even months after the fact. I knew that even though I chose to part ways in our friendship, I had to forgive also. It was not only important for my own sanity, but also it is commanded by God for us to forgive and love those "who despitefully use and persecute us. (Matt. 5:44)" And I tried. I did all the things. I prayed for them, I prayed God would help me to forgive, I told God I forgave them and I did my best to pray for their happiness and joy to be full. The problem wasn't my actions, the problem was my heart. In my heart I was secretly wishing they would be punished for what they did and that God would set them straight. I don't know for sure, but I feel like that probably is the kind of forgiveness or love God wants us to give (insert sarcastic tone here.)
When we truly love someone, and I'm talking love like Christ, unconditionally and fully, that love is able to cover a multitude of things that may happen in that relationship. If we love based on condition and whether someone does what we want or lives how we want, then we are not truly loving the way God commands us to love. I'm not saying don't hold your circle of people around you accountable in love and grace. That's a completely different thing. In my case I did hold them accountable and because of that they lashed out at me. I wasn't wrong in my accountability stance, but I was wrong in not loving through the lashing out. Instead, I got my feelings hurt because I couldn't understand how after our very long and close friendship they could do what they did because they were angry at me. Because of this, I allowed my hurt to fester into a sore that destroyed our friendship. So even though I tried to forgive and even believed I had, I was living a lie.
When we truly love and forgive like Christ, those hurts are covered by that love. That means that no matter how painful the hurt was, our love is greater than that pain. Our love can fully erase the hurt and in many cases restore the relationship. It may take time and it may still hurt for a while, but it can eventually be washed away by love. God does this everyday with the sins we commit that hurt him. He doesn't pretend to forgive and say all the right things so people think he's forgiven us. He truly, 100% forgives us and restores us into a right relationship with him because of his great love for us. Isn't it only right that we as his children strive to fully and completely love others in the same way and offer God's grace in the form of forgiveness? God says, "Yes."
1. What unforgiveness are you struggling with in your life this week?
2. Take time this week to talk to God and ask him to help you forgive and love the way he does.
3. If it's appropriate, reach out to that person and restore that relationship that was hurt. (IMPORTANT NOTE: If this is an unsafe or inappropriate situation, seek professional help before reaching out or don't reach out at all and instead allow God to handle the other side of the situation.)
4. Forgive yourself for whatever role you may have played in the situation and begin to pray for the other person in a way that is truly love filled prayer.
Until next time, keep striving to be the godly woman He created you to be.
P.S. In the case of my relationship with my friend, this was a relationship I believe God was removing from my life, however, I still needed to truly forgive and love and I am working very hard to do that. I am fully accepting my role in the way things turned out and I know that God will honor that and help me get to a place of love and forgiveness one day and I hope he will help my friend do the same.