10 Signs of a Christian – 1.  Forgiveness

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  (Matt.  5:38-48)

Learn it:         

            Jesus taught about forgiveness as part of his Sermon on the Mount.  He started out by describing what forgiveness meant in the Old Testament.  Back then the Law was all about justice and fairness.  Justice is a good thing, but Jesus is coming to switch things.  A follower of His should turn the check.  They should be willing to give generously to others and be willing to go the extra mile.  Giving is one way that we show forgiveness. 

            A second way we show forgiveness is through our love.  This is what the next section is all about.  We love our enemies and we should pray for them!  Not only do we pray for them, but we should serve them.  Just as God makes it rain on both believers and unbelievers so their crops may do well.  We should want to see unbelievers do well in the businesses too.  Why do we do that?  We do that so that we might have an opportunity to share the gospel with them and they would surrender their life to Christ.

Live it:

            As a follower of Christ, we are expected to live a life of forgiveness.  Forgiving someone takes some humility and swallowing your pride.  Someone has wronged you and you need to let your anger towards them go.  Jesus tells us that we should even be willing to go further than that!  We should be generous towards those that have wronged us.  This is contrary towards every natural feeling we have.  This is the same type of forgiveness that has shown us.  While we were enemies of God, he sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins.  What would it look like if we loved our enemies in the same way?  Sometimes it starts out with saying a prayer for those that irritate us.  Then God will build up our compassion for them and He will open our eyes to ways we can serve them. 

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