THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

February, Day 13

Text: Matthew 6:14, 15

 "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (NASB)

The character of God determines the behavior of Christians.  As an example, consider the subject and act of forgiveness.  Why do Christians forgive?  Most people who are not Christians do not forgive.  Many who consider themselves to be Christian do a very poor job of forgiving.  Forgiveness is certainly not a natural reactionówe naturally seem to react to experiencing wrongful acts with desires for justice or revenge.  Forgiveness is wonderful to receive when we are wrong but demanding to give if we are wronged.  The problem: we only need to give forgiveness to wrong-doers, especially when we have been treated unjustly.

Then why would we consider being persons who practice forgiveness?  The answer begins with God.  God expressed His desire to forgive us of our injustices that offended Him in terrible ways by giving us His son in the form of Jesus.  Jesus rectified our offensives against God by surrendering his pure life in death.  One of the ways we show our appreciation for what God does for us through Jesus is by forgiving other people when they wrong us.  Thus we forgive others because God forgave us.  Because we value what God did for us, we do for other people what God did for us.

If Godís character does not impact our lives so much that we are moved to duplicate His character in the person we are, we cannot and will not be His representatives to others.  God does not give us blessings for us to use those blessings selfishly.  We as Christians wish, by choice, to represent God to those who need Godís help and hope.  We are not Christians to seek to exploit God.

Suggestion for reflection: Examine your determination to develop Godís character in your thoughts and behavior.  (Read Colossians 3:12, 13.)

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