A Lifestyle of Forgiveness

  • August 25, 2015
Tuesday 25

Ephesians 4:29-32

Showing mercy to those who hurt us does not come naturally— it’s easier to get angry at them and remain that way. We justify our lack of forgiveness by pointing to the injustice that took place or harm that was done. But God commands us to be merciful (Luke 6:36). We who have been shown divine mercy are to practice a lifestyle of forgiveness.

So why don’t we obey? Sometimes our pride gets in the way. We are angered when treated with disrespect, passed over for a job opportunity, or ignored despite our accomplishments. At other times we get focused on other people’s refusal to change, so we withhold mercy until they improve their behavior. And some of us have been badly hurt or treated unjustly. Our minds are filled with such pain that we become stuck in the past and cannot see how we’ll ever be able to forgive.

An unforgiving attitude can have all sorts of unwanted consequences, including broken relationships, emotional bondage, and indifference toward the Lord. The longer we hold on to our anger, the more it will affect our fellowship, not only with other people but also with our heavenly Father. Over time, we may become bitter and hostile, which certainly doesn’t fit with our identity in Christ.

It is hard for us to pardon those who tell lies about us, treat us badly, or cause harm to our loved ones. And yet their behavior toward us is not a reason to withhold mercy. God calls us to forgive as He forgave us—and with His help, we can do just that.

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29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer!

2 She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies.

3 Judah has gone into exile under affliction And under harsh servitude; She dwells among the nations, But she has found no rest; All her pursuers have overtaken her In the midst of distress.

4 The roads of Zion are in mourning Because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests are groaning, Her virgins are afflicted, And she herself is bitter.

5 Her adversaries have become her masters, Her enemies prosper; For the LORD has caused her grief Because of the multitude of her transgressions; Her little ones have gone away As captives before the adversary.

6 All her majesty Has departed from the daughter of Zion; Her princes have become like deer That have found no pasture; And they have fled without strength Before the pursuer.

7 In the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious things That were from the days of old, When her people fell into the hand of the adversary And no one helped her. The adversaries saw her, They mocked at her ruin.

8 Jerusalem sinned greatly, Therefore she has become an unclean thing. All who honored her despise her Because they have seen her nakedness; Even she herself groans and turns away.

9 Her uncleanness was in her skirts; She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly; She has no comforter. See, O LORD, my affliction, For the enemy has magnified himself!"

10 The adversary has stretched out his hand Over all her precious things, For she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, The ones whom You commanded That they should not enter into Your congregation.

11 All her people groan seeking bread; They have given their precious things for food To restore their lives themselves. See, O LORD, and look, For I am despised."

12 Is it nothing to all you who pass this way? Look and see if there is any pain like my pain Which was severely dealt out to me, Which the LORD inflicted on the day of His fierce anger.

13 From on high He sent fire into my bones, And it prevailed over them. He has spread a net for my feet; He has turned me back; He has made me desolate, Faint all day long.

14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound; By His hand they are knit together. They have come upon my neck; He has made my strength fail. The Lord has given me into the hands Of those against whom I am not able to stand.

15 The Lord has rejected all my strong men In my midst; He has called an appointed time against me To crush my young men; The Lord has trodden as in a wine press The virgin daughter of Judah.

16 For these things I weep; My eyes run down with water; Because far from me is a comforter, One who restores my soul. My children are desolate Because the enemy has prevailed."

17 Zion stretches out her hands; There is no one to comfort her; The LORD has commanded concerning Jacob That the ones round about him should be his adversaries; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.

18 The LORD is righteous; For I have rebelled against His command; Hear now, all peoples, And behold my pain; My virgins and my young men Have gone into captivity.

19 I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; My priests and my elders perished in the city While they sought food to restore their strength themselves.

20 See, O LORD, for I am in distress; My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is overturned within me, For I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword slays; In the house it is like death.

21 They have heard that I groan; There is no one to comfort me; All my enemies have heard of my calamity; They are glad that You have done it. Oh, that You would bring the day which You have proclaimed, That they may become like me.

22 Let all their wickedness come before You; And deal with them as You have dealt with me For all my transgressions; For my groans are many and my heart is faint."

1 How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion With a cloud in His anger! He has cast from heaven to earth The glory of Israel, And has not remembered His footstool In the day of His anger.

2 The Lord has swallowed up; He has not spared All the habitations of Jacob. In His wrath He has thrown down The strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and its princes.

3 In fierce anger He has cut off All the strength of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand From before the enemy. And He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire Consuming round about.

4 He has bent His bow like an enemy; He has set His right hand like an adversary And slain all that were pleasant to the eye; In the tent of the daughter of Zion He has poured out His wrath like fire.

5 The Lord has become like an enemy. He has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all its palaces, He has destroyed its strongholds And multiplied in the daughter of Judah Mourning and moaning.

6 And He has violently treated His tabernacle like a garden booth; He has destroyed His appointed meeting place. The LORD has caused to be forgotten The appointed feast and sabbath in Zion, And He has despised king and priest In the indignation of His anger.

7 The Lord has rejected His altar, He has abandoned His sanctuary; He has delivered into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces. They have made a noise in the house of the LORD As in the day of an appointed feast.

8 The LORD determined to destroy The wall of the daughter of Zion. He has stretched out a line, He has not restrained His hand from destroying, And He has caused rampart and wall to lament; They have languished together.

9 Her gates have sunk into the ground, He has destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the nations; The law is no more. Also, her prophets find No vision from the LORD.

10 The elders of the daughter of Zion Sit on the ground, they are silent. They have thrown dust on their heads; They have girded themselves with sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem Have bowed their heads to the ground.

11 My eyes fail because of tears, My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, When little ones and infants faint In the streets of the city.

12 They say to their mothers, Where is grain and wine?" As they faint like a wounded man In the streets of the city, As their life is poured out On their mothers' bosom.

13 How shall I admonish you? To what shall I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what shall I liken you as I comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as vast as the sea; Who can heal you?

14 Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity, But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.

15 All who pass along the way Clap their hands in derision at you; They hiss and shake their heads At the daughter of Jerusalem, Is this the city of which they said, `The perfection of beauty, A joy to all the earth'?"

16 All your enemies Have opened their mouths wide against you; They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, We have swallowed her up! Surely this is the day for which we waited; We have reached it, we have seen it. "

17 The LORD has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word Which He commanded from days of old. He has thrown down without sparing, And He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the might of your adversaries.

18 Their heart cried out to the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, Let your tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief, Let your eyes have no rest.

19 Arise, cry aloud in the night At the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones Who are faint because of hunger At the head of every street."

20 See, O LORD, and look! With whom have You dealt thus? Should women eat their offspring, The little ones who were born healthy? Should priest and prophet be slain In the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 On the ground in the streets Lie young and old; My virgins and my young men Have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of Your anger, You have slaughtered, not sparing.

22 You called as in the day of an appointed feast My terrors on every side; And there was no one who escaped or survived In the day of the LORD'S anger. Those whom I bore and reared, My enemy annihilated them.

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Publish Date June 25, 2017
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