Extreme betrayal requires Extreme forgiveness

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”   Matthew 6:9-13 ESV emphasis mine

I’m reading through “Extreme Devotion: daily devotional stories of ancient to modern day believers who sacrificed everything for Christ” (now isn’t that a title!?) published by Voice of the Martyrs.

Today’s entry spoke of a Romanian pastor who was betrayed to the secret police by

his associate pastor, his trusted friend

as he was being dragged away in the middle of the night, he called to his wife, “Give all my love to our son and to the pastor who denounced me.”

wow

Following is a portion of the commentary on this story:

“Jesus taught us that forgiving evil is for our own good.  Deep betrayal can cause us to close our hearts to our own experience of forgiveness.  If you find yourself being stingy in the forgiveness department, you will experience a meager sense of release from your own sins.  Being betrayed is bad enough.  Becoming bitter is a defeat you cannot afford. . .” (p. 10)

How quickly I process ceasing to be the judge and executioner for anyone who has wronged me has a direct relationship with how loved, how forgiven I feel toward the God who I offend every day. So . . .

if I continue to feel guilty after I have confessed my sin, and feel as though I must do “something more to prove to God I’m sorry,” then is it just a misunderstanding of the scope and completeness of God’s forgiveness, or is it because I refuse to accept a sincere apology from someone else, and feel that they must “prove” themselves to me?

if I can’t accept that all my sins are forgiven, is it a misunderstanding of the scope of Christ’s payment on the cross, or is it that I demand an apology from someone before I will forgive them? (Christ forgave all my sin before I confessed a single one.  He forgave all yours that way, too, unless you happen to be more than 2010 years old)

“Therefore welcome [accept] one another as Christ has welcomed [accepted] you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7 ESV

Father,

I want to revere and hallow Your name.  I want Your will to be done here on earth the same way it is in heaven.  But it isn’t that way now.  So, help me to see that I must forgive others in the same way You have forgiven me — completely, from the heart, trusting that Your kingdom will come and all things will be made right.  I want my life to display Your glory.  I want to be free of bitterness and unforgiveness, so that Your love will shine through me.  In Jesus’ precious and holy name,

Amen

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