Love Like Jesus - Part 5 - Forgiveness

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

John 13:34-35 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

If we are to love like Jesus, then we need to understand and accept how Christ has loved us first. And once we understand and accept that love, we can reflect that love in our relationships and world. I believe Jesus loved with his forgiveness.

Jesus modelled forgiveness in his interactions with friends and persecuters.

When Jesus was crucified, and in the hours prior, he was totally abandoned by those who he had just spent 3 years pouring into, all except John. Even Peter who had declared he would die for Jesus, had denied him and run off. After Jesus was resurrected, he sought out Peter, he cooked him a meal and then in a conversation he restored relationship. Peter did the offending, but Jesus restored the relationship. He loved Peter enough to reach out with forgiveness. There was a conversation about it, but it was a restorative one.

Even when he was on the cross, Jesus forgave those who nailed him and tortured him. When he said "forgive them", I'm sure it covered the full scope, from Herod & Pontius Pilate to the Sanhedrin, from the disciples to the crowd. Even in the midst of his own pain and suffering, he loved them enough to forgive.

That is so challenging, so confronting. I know I have been through circumstances that have challenged my abilities to forgive. I am usually committed to working through my issues to get to the point of a conversation and forgiveness, but for the biggest one that I can think of it took me 6 months to be able to sit in the room for civil conversation. There was no way forgiveness was being offered in the moment, not by me.

As people who are called to love like Jesus, forgiveness has to be part of how we interact with people.

 

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