“Christians with the aid of the Holy Spirit must always stand ready to forgive, willing and desirous of forgiving, extending forgiveness . . .”- Dr. Gary Chapman
“He [Christ] did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”- 1 Peter 2:25
In Chapter 8 (“What about Forgiveness”) of Anger, Gary Chapman underscores that biblical forgiveness cannot be a one-way street. No scriptural evidence exists that God ever forgives an unconfessing, unrepentant sinner. However, God stands willing to forgive. Furthermore, He desires to forgive.
What, then, are the Christian’s options when the offending party refuses to repent and confess their sin? Dr. Chapman believe the answer lies in taking two decisive steps.
1. Commit or release the person who has sinned against you to God. Vengeance belongs to God, because only God knows everything about the other person. God knows that person’s actions and motives. Therefore, His judgments infinitely surpass ours, as does His concern for righteousness.
2. Confess any of your own sin. God designed anger to be a visitor, never a resident. The Bible challenges us to rid ourselves “of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language (Colossians 3:8).” When someone close to us wrongs us, we truly need God’s help and guidance.
At this point, Dr. Chapman emphasizes, prayer becomes vital. Prayer channels a Christian’s energies in the right direction. Specifically, that entails seeking God’s fellowship and wisdom. As a result, we walk in the light. Hence, God’s purposes for our lives cannot be thwarted by someone else’s sin.
Today’s question: How does applying Dr. Chapman’s two decisive steps enable you to stand ready to forgive? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The call of God”