Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-32
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The enemy does not want you to read this message. The enemy would prefer for you to ignore this topic of forgiveness. The Apostle Paul wrote a lot of letters to church leadership, because he wanted the best for religious communities. Paul knew about the power of forgiveness and that is a reason it is highlighted in this scripture. Forgiveness is powerful!
Allow me to share the following points:
Point # 1: The enemy does not want you to be receptive to forgiveness. Why? The enemy would like you to focus more on your mistakes rather than on God’s miracles. Meditating on mistakes can derail you. Meditating on miracles allow you to be in a better position to live a more peaceful and prosperous life.
Point # 2: The enemy does not want you to offer forgiveness. Why? The enemy would like you to keep score of other people mistakes so you can have a false sense of superiority. Keeping score is an important skill for some professions such as the following: a) Taking inventory in a grocery store, b) Monitoring time at the Olympics and other athletic events, and/ c) Correctly counting money at financial institutions such as banks, etc.
Point # 3: Forgiveness should be a main ingredient of a Christian. The Holy Bible highlights forgiveness on multiple occasions such as the following:
- a) “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” — Psalm 130:4
- b) “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” — Mark 1:4
- c) “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” — Matthew 26:28
Point # 4: There is forgiveness! The enemy wants you to hold grudges. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word grudge is associated with the following expressions: bitterness, hostility, hate, feud, conflict, tension, unfriendliness, etc. Life is too short and fragile to give a noticeable amount of energy and time to grudges. In contrast, the word forgiveness is associated with the following expressions: pardon, mercy, reprieve, remission, leniency, and exemption.
Ponder the following questions:
How are you going to receive forgiveness during this season of your life?
Where are you going to offer forgiveness?
When has forgiveness made a difference on your journey?
Should you utilize forgiveness more often?
Ponder this statement: There is forgiveness!
The Rev. Dr. Ken Walden is the senior pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.