Love and forgiveness – do I have to?

I strive not to get involved in political debates because people attempt to sandwich God and “The Way” in the middle of the political rhetoric. “The Way” is simple.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31New International Version (NIV)

John clarified it even further;
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”John 13:34-35New International Version (NIV)  [There is no provisio statement here.  Everyone means everyone.]
We can forgive and forget the wrongs that have been done against us and still love the person who has hurt us!!  The will probably reject us, shun us, still talk about us, or exclude us from their circle of friends, but then the issue becomes theirs and not ours. Continually rehearsing the pain and the hurt just buries it deep inside our souls. We can tell people that we have forgiven them, but the more we talk about them and the situation the more we solidify the attitude of unforgiveness buried in our hearts. Just let it go!  Don’t use the pop psychology that has permeated the body of Christ to justify unforgiveness. When we state that we have forgiven someone and then use the conjunction “but” in the middle of the sentence we have NOT forgiven them. There are some persons whom who may not want to continue to associate with if they continue to hurt you.
It is possible for me to forgive when wronged.  Not always easy to forget it and let it go, but it is doable when I let God grasp it and burns it out of my heart.
When I pray over a situation and or person, I ask myself these questions.
How many time each day do I sin against God?
How many times does He forgive me?
How many times does He forget my sins until I decide that I have to remind Him of them?
What benefits do I derive from forgiving and forgetting? Grace and peace of mind.
Unforgiveness is the biggest sin that is permeating the body of Christ today.  We will not grow and or transform lives when the spirit of unforgiveness is growing like a stately oak tree in the center of the congregation.  We have to chop it down.  Get the tree stump remover -The Holy Spirit – to grind the stump down.  Send down the killer root chemical down into the root system, so the roots do not send up another shoot that becomes another three somewhere else in the body.  Have you ever tried to kill a tree in your yard?  You can cut it down to the very down where you can mow over the stump, and it dows not hard your mower, but watch out because the roots will give life to not three, or worse yet the stump will sprout multiple trees.
Unforgiveness and gossip grow underground.  They flourish very well together. Allow the Holy Spirit to eradicate both or we will continue to have revolving door churches or churches that are just filled with our family members and their friends. We will not be able to sustain congregants.  People are looking for real, loving, caring, relationships.  We must be intentional in how we foster those relationships within the body first, then go outward.
So, what does politics have to do with this? It divides and dissipates congregations.  This political race is teaming with hatred, division, and unforgiveness.
This world is not our home.  We are heaven bound.  Our allegiance is to God and the kingdom of God. We must respect and obey the laws of man as long as they are in tune with the law of God, but we must not deny God and make any man and our political process the bane of our existence.  We will become side tracked and forgot our commission.
Personal Story.

I have been bringing my ex-husband’s daughter to church with me for at least a couple of years now.  When I first told people who she was, I got some interesting looks from them. I honestly didn’t understand why it was a problem. Since the divorce, we have celebrated all holidays together as a family. Including his new wife.  They are both Christians.  When our girls come home for the holidays, with their children, we all sit together in my dining room, and we eat together.  When I am sick, they help to take care of me. I help with their daughter’s education as much as I can, and we work together as Christian brothers and sisters should.

I have been praying for him, his daughter, and his wife that we will all remain one in the spirit under the Lord.  We talk about the Word of God and share many things.  He finally decided that he was going to attend church with his daughter and me one Sunday.  People asked me where his daughter was when they noticed that she was not sitting with me.  I told them that she was sitting over there with her dad.  My pastor asked me if I had a good relationship with my ex-husband. I said, “Yes, he lives next door with his new wife!”  On Sunday, my ex-husband will become a member of the church that I am attending.  I am not sure how folks will react to that, but that is their problem, not mine.  He needed to be in a church where the God’s word is being preached.  He will remain my ex-husband as long as we are both living, but he was my brother in Christ before we were married and remained my brother in Christ after we were married.  Forgiveness is not a construct for me. It is how I live my life.

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