Facilitators of Forgiveness
While it is true that God has called us to minister to others, to evangelize, to baptize, to teach and make disciples, it is also true that He called us to be peacemakers. This is a very large task because we live in a very unforgiving world. If you listen to political newscasts, you hear about old votes, old affairs and old decisions. If you watch television, you hear about past behaviors, past indiscretions, and past bad habits. If you sit at the local coffee shop, you are apt to hear some of the same. Isn't there a verse that says, "love keeps no record of wrong"? That is forgiveness. Making peace has to do with forgiveness.
We must be the kind of people who facilitate forgiveness. This requires us to live like we are forgiven. We can't keep revisiting our sins, they are put away, wiped away and forgiven. We cannot go through our lives, walking our daily walk and talking our daily talk with an attitude of guilt. Why would we continue to keep a record of it, when God does not? We have been saved, not because of what we did or do, but because of His mercy and grace. Praise God, for His saving love!
Not only must we live like we are forgiven, we must also be forgiving people. I want to be the kind of person who forgives like Jesus does, immediately. I don't want to stew about the wrong done to me. I don't want to keep adding fuel to my fire of anger and hurt. I want to forgive immediately and completely. Jesus did that. His forgiveness was immediate and complete, even on the cross. I want to be more like Him. I am way too busy to take the time to wallow in my own hurt feelings. I pray we will continue learning that immediate and complete forgiveness. If we are to be peacemakers, we must learn to be forgivers.
We must also work to create an atmosphere or attitude of forgiveness. When our friends or fellow christians are venting to us, we need to be brave enough to encourage immediate forgiveness. We need to not add to their anger, not add to their hurt but rather work with them to diffuse it, work to salve their wounded feelings and help them to move into a prayerful forgiveness for their offender.
I know there are congregations who are wounded and bleeding. They have been injured by one of their own. They have been betrayed and lied to. They have been abused and misused. They will need our help to forgive. They will need forgiving people to help guide them into the healing and forgiveness they need. Once their wounds are no longer bleeding and their hearts are no longer breaking, they can move forward, working for the Lord, they themselves, facilitating forgiveness in others.
I know that some things are more difficult to forgive, but I also believe forgiveness is absolutely possible in absolutely every situation. If it were not, God would not ask us to forgive. He could not do so and remain a just and loving God. There have been so many times we have been hurt. Hurt with words, hurt by actions, hurt by events, but I have never been deserted by my friends and then lied about and then beaten and then hanged on a cross to die. For those would seem almost impossible to forgive. And yet . . . He forgave. He reminds us to forgive as we have been forgiven. He tells us that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. Measure to measure---forgiveness of our sins has a direct correlation to the way we forgive others. And we are to encourage others to also forgive. We are to be facilitators of forgiveness, peacemakers because we are sons of God.