The Gift of Forgiveness

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (v. 13)

Yesterday we focused on the apostle Paul’s admonishment to release bitterness, one of a long list of sins he urged the Ephesian believers to steer clear of. Today we consider his words to the church at Colossae, specifically his call to bear and forgive. Paul tells them the reason to forgive is clear: because the Lord first forgave them.

Bitterness and unforgiveness are closely tied and both eat away at us over time. I think this is especially hard when we feel we are owed an apology, but that apology doesn’t come. I know I have experienced this, and the irony is that in my waiting I allowed myself to remain in a place of hurt and bitterness.

Paul placed the need to forgive in front of some wonderful gifts—love and harmony (v. 14) along with peace and thankfulness (v. 15). When we choose not to forgive, we can’t truly experience the wonder of any of these gifts, let alone fully share them with others.

Is there someone you’re waiting for an apology from? Has that waiting made you a more harmonious, peaceful person . . . or less of one? Perhaps it’s time to remember that God knows the heart of the one who hurt you, and he is the judge. He also knows your heart. I hope you have accepted his life-changing forgiveness, and that you will choose to forgive out of gratitude for God’s great love for you. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, ask God to help you forgive, just as he has forgiven you.

About the Author

Joy Petroelje is the director of a nonprofit human services organization. She and her husband Steve have three sons and live near Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to family time and her work in nonprofit administration, Joy enjoys reading, writing, and running.

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