“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:31-32
Learning to Forgive
Team chemistry is sometimes volatile and unsteady. In order to have longterm success, coaches and team leaders must convince everyone to think about the greater good and not dwell on petty grievances or misunderstandings.
If we struggle with forgiveness, then it’s helpful to consider Jesus’ example. Jesus lived a perfect life. He never gave into temptation. The devil tried many times but Jesus refused to sin. When Jesus was accused of wrongdoing, Pilate and Herod examined Him thoroughly and sought witnesses, but they couldn’t find anything against Him. “Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no basis for a charge against this man'” (Luke 23:4).
Therefore, Jesus didn’t deserve to suffer or die. Though it was unjustified and unfair, they spit in the face of Jesus, whipped Him without mercy, slapped Him, punched Him, put a crown of thorns upon His head, insulted Him and nailed Him to a cross to die a slow, agonizing death. Yet Jesus forgave them completely. “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing'” (Luke 23:34a).
Forgiveness is difficult to do. When Jacob stole Esau’s birthright and inheritance by deception, Esau didn’t want to forgive. So Jacob went away for 20 years. When they saw each other again, Jacob was afraid and offered gifts to plead for mercy from Esau. Surprisingly, Esau hugged him and peace was restored. “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept” (Genesis 33:4).
Baby Christians refuse to forgive, but mature Christians gradually learn to forgive and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Even though it is natural to hold a grudge, God calls us to live in a supernatural way. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.
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