Forgiveness: The Litmus Test
(Taken from Like Christ by Andrew Murray)
It is thus that thou canst bless the world. It is as the forgiving One that Jesus conquers His enemies, and binds His friends to Himself. It is as the forgiving One that Jesus has set up His kingdom and continually extends it. It is through the same forgiving love, not only preached but shown in the life of His disciples, that the Church will, convince the world of God’s love. If the world see men and women loving and forgiving as Jesus did, it will be compelled to confess that God is with them of a truth.
And if it still appear too hard and too high, remember that this will only be as long as we consult the natural heart. A sinful nature has no taste for this joy, and never can attain it. But in union with Christ we can do it: He who abides in Him walks even as He walked. If you have surrendered yourself to follow Christ in everything, then He will by His Holy Spirit enable you to do this too. Ere ever you come into temptation, accustom yourself to fix your gaze on Jesus, in the heavenly beauty of His forgiving love as your example: "Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory." Every time you pray or thank God for forgiveness, make the vow that to the glory of His name you will manifest the same forgiving love to all around you. Before ever there is a question of forgiveness of others, let your heart be filled with love to Christ, love to the brethren, and love to enemies: a heart full of love finds it blessed to forgive. Let, in each little circumstance of daily life when the temptation not to forgive might arise, the opportunity be joyfully welcomed to show how truly you live in God’s forgiving love, how glad you are to let its beautiful light shine through you on others, and how blessed a privilege you feel it to be thus too to bear the image of your beloved Lord.
To forgive like Thee, blessed Son of God! I take this as the law of my life. Thou who hast given the command, givest also the power. Thou who hadst love enough to forgive me, wilt also fill me with love and teach me to forgive others. Thou who didst give me the first blessing, in the joy of having my sins forgiven, wilt surely give me the second blessing, the deeper joy of forgiving others as Thou hast forgiven me. Oh, fill me to this end with faith in the power of Thy love in me, to make me like Thyself, to enable me to forgive the seventy times seven, and so to love and bless all around me.
O my Jesus! Thy example is my law: I must be like Thee. And Thy example is my gospel too. I can be as Thou art. Thou art at once my Law and my Life. What Thou demandest of me by Thy example, Thou workest in me by Thy life. I shall forgive like Thee.
(Picture by Paul Moloney)