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The last word on forgiveness 



We had already said in our series that our Lord Jesus taught us how to forgive others by the examples that he set for us. According to Peter, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet.2:23).

Today, we shall share the perspectives and comments of two notable sources on the subject of forgiveness. John Piper’s comment on 1 Peter 2:23, brings a refreshing perspective on the example of Jesus and how to forgive those who offend and hurt us. In an article titled, “How Christ Conquered Bitterness,” he wrote, “No one was more grievously sinned against than Jesus. Every ounce of animosity against him was completely undeserved. No one has ever lived who was more worthy of honour than Jesus, and no one has been dishonoured more. If anyone had a right to get angry and be bitter and vengeful, it was Jesus.
“How did he control himself when scoundrels, whose very existence he sustained, spit in his face? First, Peter 2:23 gives the answer: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” What this verse means is that Jesus had faith in the future grace of God’s righteous judgment. He did not need to avenge himself for all the indignities he suffered, because he entrusted his cause to God. He left vengeance in God’s hands and prayed for his enemies: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Peter gives us this glimpse into Jesus’s faith so that we would learn how to live this way ourselves. He said, “You have been called [to endure harsh treatment patiently] . . . because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). If Christ conquered bitterness and vengeance by faith in what God, the good Judge, had promised to do, how much more should we since we have far less right to murmur for being mistreated than he did?”

Max LUCADO also adds this bit to our subject. “Forgiveness is not foolishness. Forgiveness is, at its core, choosing to see your offender with different eyes…To forgive is to move on, not to think about the offence anymore. You don’t excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route thoughts about them through heaven. You see your enemy as God’s child and revenge as God’s job.”

“By the way, how can we grace-recipients do anything less? Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it? This is a huge issue in Scripture. Jesus was tough on sinners who refused to forgive other sinners. Remember His story about the servant freshly forgiven a debt of millions who refused to forgive a debt equal to a few dollars? He stirred the wrath of God: ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt… Shouldn’t you have mercy…just as I had mercy on you?’ (Matthew 18:32, 33 NLT). In the final sum, we give grace because we’ve been given grace.” 

It is very clear: God insists that we are to be forgivers—in the church, family and in our marriages, probably more than any other relationship, presents frequent opportunities for practice. May we go beyond lip service to actually practice forgiveness.

In this article:
Austen C. Ukachi
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