Does the World Know Whose You Are?


So watch yourselves.“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.

-- Luke 17:3-4

Cinderella is my favorite fairytale.

Not only is it a classic, but it reminds me so much of the the story of creation: we’re cherished sons and daughters, but sin caused us to fall from beloved to servanthood. Then, our Prince Charming (Jesus) came to adopt us into His family. He seeks us out, never gives up, and will one day bring us home, a perfect and spotless bride.

So, naturally, when I was flipping through the channels over the weekend and saw the latest Disney remake had just started, I did a little happy dance and settled in to watch.

But then, at the very end of the movie, as Cinderella is leaving her family home, hand-in-hand with Prince Charming, she turns to her stepmother and says, “I forgive you.”

Wait, what? I didn’t remember that from the animated version.

And the evil stepmother, sinking to sit on the stairs behind her, looked as shocked as I felt.

I mean, she was terrible to Cinderella! Absolutely awful.

And I remember thinking, “Props to her, because I don’t know if I could’ve done that.”

But then, I heard Jesus whisper, “I did it for you.” That’s when He began to minister to my heart.

“Forgiveness” isn’t a word that I could define very well, until recently.

When I was a kid, my mom had a rule for my siblings and me that whenever we hurt one another, we had to apologize (whether we liked it or not). And likewise, the person being apologized to had to say “I forgive you.” Always.

After I said “yes” to Jesus, I identified Jesus dying on the cross as the epitome of forgiveness. Which it is, absolutely.

But it’s only until these past few months that He’s been working in my heart to show me that loving people well includes forgiving them, both gracefully and graciously.

Over and over, time and time again.

Always.

That the two - love and forgiveness - have and always will be intertwined.

And if we look to 1 Corinthians 13, we see that love is not easily angered. That it keeps no record of wrongs.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Because love never fails.

And if we are to love the people around us well, that includes forgiving them for their shortcomings, whatever they may be.

In an article featured on his blog, Kris Vallotton talks about looking for the gold in the people we love. “So then, how would the lives of the people around you change if you began to see them not as they currently are, but as the way they are called to be?” he writes.

If instead of mistakes and failures, we choose to see blood-bought sons and daughters of the One True King?

Because that’s what they are.

And whenever I begin to err on the side of unforgiveness, I remember Jesus.

And how He chose the cross, knowing the pain and humiliation He’d endure.

But it was the greatest act of love and forgiveness this side of Heaven.

Jesus said ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. - Luke 23:34

He chose love over condemnation.

And as His royalty, we have the same choice. Each and every day.

Forgiveness isn’t "logical," but it is Kingdom logic.

And today, I challenge you to elevate your vision.

Trade in your earthly lenses for a Heavenly perspective.

Choose to see the gold, and forgive as often and as many times as you’re able.

Say, “I forgive you.” Because nothing will remind the world more that you belong to Jesus.

Reflection

1. How would you define “forgiveness”?

2. Do you have any unforgiveness in your heart? If you’re not sure, ask Jesus (because even a low level of bitterness can hinder you from all He wants to accomplish in and through you).

Prayer

Jesus, thank You for forgiving me when I first turned to You. And thank You for continuing to forgive me each and every day, no matter what I’ve said, done, or failed to do. I thank You that my forgiveness is not contingent on my behavior. That You love and forgive me because I am Yours and You are mine. I pray, Jesus, that You would open my eyes to those around me. That I would be aware not of the hurt and mistakes, but of our family and destinies. Work in me, Jesus. Create in me a clean, pure heart. Help me to love the world well. I pray for breakthrough and restoration and growth. Thank You for all that You are and all that You’ve done. You’re amazing. In Jesus’ name.

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