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You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all who call upon You.
Psalm 86:5 NASB

Series: “Cleaning House”

The dreaded upset stomach. Like most people, I’m not too fond of any sign of a stomach virus. Some of those viruses spread like wildfire on steroids! I’ve learned the sooner I get a handle on containing the germs and sanitizing the area, the more likely I can stop the spread of those germs through my household.

So, at the first sign of any negative intestinal symptom, I’m quick to grab the disinfectant and scrub down all the surfaces. I’m all-in to protect myself and my family from that illness. If only I could be so aware when negative things affect my soul and spirit, and just as diligent to start scrubbing away at those “germs.”

We all experience great opportunities to harbor frustration, bitterness, and unforgiveness. When not dealt with, these feelings can fester and grow in our minds and hearts. They can even manifest in our physical bodies, causing sickness and ailments.

Jesus taught us the perfect solution. In Matthew 6:13-14 NLT, He said:

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Forgiving others. Simple instruction. A difficult process. When we’re done wrong, we feel justified in our pain and may desire a measure of revenge. Instead of scrubbing away the unforgiveness and bitterness, we welcome these feelings, set up space for them, and allow them to remain in our “houses.”

Fortunately, God is patient with us, abounds in mercy toward us, and understands our struggles. Jesus not only provided instruction to us, He showed us how to forgive those who hurt us and how to love those who aren’t so fond of us. Paul echoed Jesus’ instruction in his letters to the saints.

In Colossians 3:12-13 HCSB, Paul wrote:

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.

And in Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT, Paul instructed the people:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Bitterness, rage, and strife are to have no place in us. James, in his letter, said that every evil work is present when we give place to these emotions. Those germs, when left alone, will grow, overtake, and infect us.

Let’s let love have its perfect work in us. As we put on Christ and clothe ourselves with His character, may He clean us up according to His righteousness. Let’s commit to rid ourselves of all unforgiveness. It’s time to scrub-a-dub-dub our hearts and minds—to forgive others just as God has forgiven us.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Psalm 86:5; Matthew 6:13-14; Colossians 3:12-13; Epehsians 4:31-32; James 3:16-17


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