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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Forgiving Another: It Lifts a Burden"

January 27, 2005

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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son the father forgives his son. In Harold Bell Wright’s “The Shepherd of the Hills,” which is the fourth most-read book in our country, it is a father who forgives his son-in-law. The father was long bitter because his daughter had died in childbirth. In the end, however, as the young man lay dying, old Matt found it in his heart to forgive.

Forgiveness is often a long time coming. Before it comes, hatred or a grievance corrodes the heart like an acid. Think of the feud between Isaac’s twin sons, Esau and Jacob. After a 20-year absence because of Esau’s jealousy, Jacob dared to come home with his family. The reunion was cordial. The brothers embraced.

Many people take their grudges with them through life, all the way to the grave. They refuse to forgive another for wrongdoing, even when forgiveness is asked for. Or they will say reluctantly: “Okay, I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget,” which comes close to being a contradiction in terms. An anger daily nursed and rehearsed can become a cancer of the soul. That’s why Saint Paul tells us to treat it early: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).

Forgiveness, thought often hard, is possible because God in Christ forgave us. Again, the apostle: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”: (Ephesians 4:32). We came to God, confessing: “Great is our debt, and many are our trespasses of Your holy will.” And He said to us: “Because My Son, Jesus Christ, whom you accept in faith as your Lord and Savior, died for your wrong-doing and set things straight, I forgive you – I forgive you the entire burden of your debt.”

Shouldn’t we then also forgive our neighbor the paltry debt he owes us?

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for Your forgiveness through Christ. Help me to forgive those who trespass against me. Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)

Today's Bible Readings: Genesis 25-26    Matthew 18:1-20

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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