Losing a loved is surely heartbreaking. Knowing that those who you love are no longer with you can seem a pain insurmountable. In the last fifteen years, I’ve lost my mother, my father, my oldest sister, my only son, and my only brother and a niece (on the same day), in that order.
All of them had something in common that eased the pain and gives hope for the future. All six of them had confessed Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Each of them understood that salvation was found only in Jesus. They came to a point in their lives where they knew they needed forgiveness for their sins.
Forgiveness is a difficult characteristic and emotion for humans to grasp. Bitterness is the natural emotion we feel when we have been wronged. Revenge is what we seek when we feel as though we have been betrayed. Both emotions are dangerous to one’s soul because it brings out the worse in us. We become deceitful and deceptive in our motives, fooling only ourselves that we are standing on right ground.
Imagine if God took that stance towards us. If ever there were anyone who had the right to feel bitterness towards His betrayers, it would be Almighty God. The Bible is chock full of examples where His people betrayed Him over and over again. We love to use the word deserve when it comes to our actions and emotions. We deserve punishment for how we as individuals and collectively as a people have turned our backs on God.
Thankfully, God is more understanding towards us. Psalm 78 is titled, “God Kindness to Rebellious Israel,” and when you read it you find an indictment against the Israelites and a catalog of God’s longsuffering. One of the better descriptions of the dichotomy between God and man is found in verses 38-39:
“But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath; for He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.” (Psalm 78:38-39)
I don’t know that you need to know anything more about God than what you read in those two verses. If that does not provoke repentance and thankfulness in your heart, I don’t know what will.
God looks upon our human frailties, particularly our emotions, and has compassion on us. We look at the mistakes that humans make against us, and all we can muster up is bitterness and vengeance.
We foolishly imagine ourselves invincible and irreproachable and God looks at us with knowing eyes as a father does with his children:
“As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)
Life is short. Love is fleeting. Family here on earth is temporal. The grass is never greener on the other side. These clichés are never truer than when we apply them to human relationships. Nothing you do in life matters more than whom you love.
We think we have forever. We think we know better than God. We think we are standing on right ground when we are actually standing in quick sand, sinking deeper into the pit of bitterness. We think we know how the future will unfold when we are actually clueless of what is before us:
“For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 6:12)
There is one thing I can predict about the future with complete certainty and confidence: we’re all going to die. Knowing this we should endeavor to love one another with a Christlike love that extends forgiveness to the unforgiveable. We should seek to reconcile relationships as much as it is up to us.
Most importantly, we should remember that life is but “a breath that passes away and does not come again.”
Don’t waste another moment.
Make life count starting right now…
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Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers