Luke 6:37-38 (NKJV)
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Many of you are familiar with the shooting at the Charleston church in South Carolina on June 17th of this year. This was truly a tragedy which devastated the community. When the media began interviewing some of the family members of the victims, I was amazed at their level of forgiveness. One of the family members of Ethel Lance said, “I forgive you.” They forgave the shooter when the shooting was still recent. Less than 24 hours before that statement, they had just lost a family member forever.
I would love to tell you that I could easily do that, but that would not be the truth. To be so full and overflowing with forgiveness in a devastating moment like that, really exhibits the incredible love of Christ within that person.
In Luke 6:37-38, he is telling us that whatever measure that we give, it will be measured back to us. It actually states: “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom.”
If we do not judge others; we will not be judged. If we don’t condemn, we will not be condemned. If we forgive, we will be forgiven. If we give, it will be given back to us. Giving here is not just a financial scripture. Luke is saying that if we give forgiveness, we will receive forgiveness. If we give love, we will receive love. Whatever we give, we will receive that particular thing back in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
I feel as though God is reminding me today that I will reap whatever I sow. If I want forgiveness from others, I must be willing to forgive. If I want love extended to me, then I must love.
How do we do that? How do we love someone who is not lovable? How do we forgive someone who has hurt us? We have to ask God to help us. When we spend time with God, we deepen our relationship with Him. It’s in the secret place with Him that we can ask Him to help us forgive that person. Ask the Lord to show you His heart for that person. You may be surprised by His response. I believe that if we can see that person from God’s perspective, it will change our heart towards them. Maybe – just maybe, we will have compassion for them which can lead to forgiveness.
Unforgiveness is like me drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It does nothing to them, but destroys me from within.
It seems as though 2015 has been the year of offense in our nation. People have been offended by anything and everything. And yet, there are those like the family members of Ethel Lance that would forgive in the midst of tragedy.
What if 2016 was the year of forgiveness and love? What if the church, or should I say “Christians,” gave up their “right” to hold onto an offense, and instead extended God’s love and forgiveness towards others? What will that look like in 2017?
I don’t know about you, but I want to extend to others what I would like to be given. So let’s start 2016 with a new, clean slate. If you have unforgiveness towards someone, work through that with the Lord. He won’t be angry or mad that you’re talking to Him about it because he already knows your heart. If you will forgive, there will be an exchange of freedom in your life. Choose this year to walk in freedom and in God’s love. You won’t regret it!