Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32 AMP
Does this sound like the standard of the world today? We live in a world that is moving faster and farther away from the God of the Bible and the SANCTIFYING behavior that we are called to demonstrate as a follower of the risen Christ. Jesus told us through the Gospel writer John, that Jesus is our example, that Jesus is the PICTURE, that Jesus is the STANDARD! Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Jesus said, “Watch me, listen to me, model me- what I do, you do!’ (my paraphrase John 14:6) Remember we are to be “IN THE WORLD, not, OF THE WORLD”. This is what is meant in Romans 12:2; Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Leader, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” That is not scripture, it is Yoda, Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace from 1999. Even though it is NOT CANON, it is only YODA, IT IS a paraphrase of what the Bible teaches. We seem to be driven through fear, because of fear and by FEARFUL leaders. Fear and Strife seem to go hand in hand, and with that comes RECORD KEEPING. With record keeping we start to accumulate a POUND OF FLESH and a RECORD OF WRONG. This leads us to seek JUSTICE, for the injustices of the world and that leads to the chaos that we are in here in America and worldwide. This is why Paul told his child in the Kingdom, Timothy; for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. As a matter of fact, one could deduce from 1 Corinthians 13, the LOVE chapter, that Love and RECORD KEEPING are at odds with each other. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Conduit, the Gospel is replete with example after example of Christ showing us to TURN THE OTHER CHEEK; to let GO and LET GOD! Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) This scripture was referenced by Paul and it comes from the book of Deuteronomy, 32:35 from the mouth of God Himself; “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly.” Jesus all throughout the GOSPELS says, JUST AS I….In other words,” DO UNTO OTHERS, as I HAVE DONE UNTO YOU”! 33When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on His right and the other on His left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34a) What could another human being do to any of us, that is worse than what we did to GOD INCARNATE? Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. A man’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. Colossians 3:13, Proverbs 19:11, Psalm 37:8) Jesus when asked by Peter about forgiveness of an offense validates this point: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22) Today be like JESUS and UNLIKE THE WORLD: Forgive, be long-suffering, let go of your POUND OF FLESH! As Jesus said at the end of the parable of the UNFORGIVING SERVANT: Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, JUST AS I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” (Matthew 18:33-35, emphasis mine) The TIME IS NOW- let go of your OFFENSE, FORGIVE, and let God be GOD!