There’s a man in my church who won’t look me in the eye. He won’t say hi to me; he won’t shake my hand. For whatever reason, this guy seems to not like me very much. For a youth pastor, that’s hard. We strive on being liked. It’s not right, but we do it.
Now, I could be all bitter and think, “Who does this guy think he is? I’ll show him.” I could do that. I might’ve even done that.
Colossians 3:13 spells it out very clearly—“Forgive as your Father in heaven forgave you.”
I don’t know what’s going on in his mind, but I know what’s in mine. And I know, on a daily basis, that God must get sick of me. But he still forgives me.
If God the Father can forgive me for all my stupidity, attitudes, thoughts and words, then I can forgive this guy. I will forgive.
1. Forgiveness is a choice.
Sure, we don’t have to. It’s all up to us. We can hear what Paul tells us in Colossians, and just toss it away. It’s ALL up to you. As leaders, student leaders, pastors and teachers, we all have a choice. Just because we’re in a position of leadership, doesn’t exempt us from choosing. It only adds how many people are watching our choices.
2. Forgiveness is necessary for healing.
This lesson I’ve been teaching to our student leadership for a while. When you forgive, you’re trading the poison inside of you for God’s love. Until that day happens, you’ll walk around with poison inside, dying little by little.
3. Forgiveness is a command.
…but I thought you said it was a choice. It is. But God calls us to a higher calling. He calls us his children. And as his children and representatives of him, we must follow and obey.
Bottom line: God doesn’t say we must forgive just because he had nothing else to do. He says we must forgive because he loves us and he wants us to share that love with others.