Colossians 3:12-14 (CEB)
12Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
One thing that makes God so awesome is the willingness God has to forgive us when we mess up. And it doesn’t matter how bad we’ve messed up. God is always ready to forgive and forget when we are ready to be sorry and change our ways.
One of the most incredible stories of forgiveness in the Bible happens between Jesus and Peter. As Jesus was being hauled away to be tried, beaten, and sentenced to death, three different people approached Peter and asked if he wasn’t one of Jesus’ followers. All three times, Peter denied his friendship.
Have you ever had a friend do this kind of thing to you? Maybe around a certain group of people, this person acts like the two of you aren’t friends. Maybe this person allows others to run you down without defending you, or even joins in with them. When something like this happens, it’s like being stabbed in the heart. You’re hurt. You’ve been betrayed. And it sure seems like this “friend” doesn’t deserve your forgiveness.
You could make a pretty good argument that Peter didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness, either. But then again, do any of us? If you think about it honestly, most of us have done exactly the same thing Peter did. Most of us have denied Jesus in the past. Maybe it was shying away from talking about our faith. Maybe it was acting in a way that Jesus wouldn’t be proud of. In truth, most of us could read the story of Peter denying Jesus and substitute our own name for Peter’s.
But, there is good news! Just as Jesus readily extended forgiveness to Peter, God readily extends forgiveness to us—not because we deserve it, but because God loves us with an unconditional love.
God does ask something in return. We are to be equally as willing to forgive those around us. It wouldn’t be right for us to accept God’s forgiveness but not extend it to others. It’s not always easy, because a lot of times, the hurt really hurts. But God wants us to try, and will bring us comfort and heal our hearts when we turn the situation over in prayer.
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.