My son has had a great opportunity this year to play basketball on his middle school team. A few days ago, they asked if would do the voice overs for the 8th grade night festivities and I was happy to do so. I got a list from each student that had all the things they wanted the audience to know about them. I read out loud the names of their parents, their favorite basketball team and the best memories of the season. Each of them had listed their current goals in life and it was great to see the aspirations of these young men. I was not surprised to see that a majority of them wanted to play basketball in high school and college. Many wanted to take it to the next level and “go pro.” How great is the dream to find something that you love to do and become a professional at it?
As a follower of Jesus, we try to resonate the things that are close to the heart of God. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could “go pro” in our pursuit of God’s character? One of the things that is incredible about the character of God is His unfathomable capacity to forgive. It is absolutely unbelievable the depth of God’s love and compassion for us. Forgiveness is so close to the heart of God that we should desire its presence as a sign of a healthy relationship with Him.
[Tweet “It is absolutely unbelievable the depth of God’s love and compassion for us. @davevanatter”]
Here are a few ways that we can begin to forgive like a pro:
Forgiveness always has a foundation. God’s forgiveness of our sin stands on Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. Our ability to forgive comes from God’s forgiveness in our lives. I believe that true forgiveness is the result of God’s divine influence in and through us. Once we have fully experienced the forgiveness of God, we can then begin to express that forgiveness outward to others.
When someone does something wrong that affects us, we begin to focus a huge amount of mental energy to that event. How many imaginary conversations have you had in your mind with the person that has wronged you? How many times have you gone over all the things that you wished you had said? When we do this, we prevent ourselves from embracing the forgiveness that God wants to facilitate through us. Instead of dwelling in the land of wrongs, spend time focusing on real needs outside of ourselves. Once we have made the choice to forgive, we must begin to let go. Whenever the wrongs committed against you begin to dominate your mind, remember those outside of your circle of influence who are hurting and suffering. Take the time you would normally stew in negativity and spend it in prayer instead. Pray for those who are in need and for those who are hurting. By taking the focus off our problems and investing that time in prayer, we give space for God to work within us.
[Tweet “Take the time you would normally stew in negativity and spend it in prayer instead. @davevanatter”]
Be Forward Thinking
A lot of the things that I get upset over are so small in comparison to things of eternal value. Most of the time, I just need a change in perspective. What are the things that really matter? How can your act of forgiveness give someone a better picture of Christ’s love for them and for the world? Use this opportunity to demonstrate God’s character to those who only see Him through you.
Forgiveness starts with a choice. Is there someone you need to choose to forgive today?