Yes, it’s been a long, hard winter. But God in His mercy promises that spring will come, in His good time. Meanwhile, we can make sure our hearts remain warm to His bidding. The closer we stay in His Word and presence, the warmer our hearts—for Him and for others.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
One of these days we will witness snow and ice melting. For many of us, that day can’t come soon, what with the long, hard winter we’re experiencing. Meanwhile, we watch the icicles along the eaves of our houses grow longer and thicker. We see the lakes and rivers encased in hard, cold ice.
People’s hearts sometimes become encased in ice, too. Someone’s unwarranted anger or thoughtlessness can cause a thin crust of icy frustration or hurt to an injured soul. The longer we allow feelings to rankle, the thicker the icy layer becomes. “I’ll never forgive that person” is a common lament of many. Like the infamous Hatfields and McCoys, an unforgiving act can be carried through the generations until today’s families don’t even know what injustice brought on the feud.
Jesus showed and taught forgiveness wherever He went. His ultimate act of forgiveness came at His death when He forgave not only His disciples for turning their backs on Him, but those responsible for His death.
Though most of us won’t have to go through such drastic persecution, our job is to follow His example—being willing to forgive our persecutors 70 times seven.
Such a hard act to follow! Our emotions don’t always feel like forgiving. But if we choose to trust and obey God, He will give us strength to resist the urge to resent our enemy. With His power, we can forget the wrong. Many say, “I can forgive but I can’t forget.” That popular phrase is one we should never settle for. We are to forgive as Christ forgave us—unconditionally, purposefully, and lovingly.
Medical science now claims that with forgiveness comes emotional freedom. Their discovery is not new. God’s Word teaches that as we forgive, and actually love, those who have wronged us, our inner being will change. He wants to wash away our pain and shame, and replace it with His peace. All we have to do is ask.
“Love keeps no record of wrongs,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:5. God does not want us to be scorekeepers of the wrongs we’ve suffered. Like a frozen lake or an icicle, our heart can thaw and warm when it is full of forgiveness and love.
“Lord, we don’t want our heart to be icy cold. Give us the grace to forgive others regardless of their motives. Help us leave the pain and shame behind so we can walk with peaceful, joyful, loving hearts. In Jesus’ name, amen.