By Gail Marsh
Have you ever collected anything? Very young children often collect stuffed animals. Young adults may collect video games and CDs. Some adults get enjoyment from collecting stamps, coins, and artwork.
Serious collectors keep detailed records of the items within their collection. Extensive notes record the date, location, and price paid for each item. These records often help people relive their excitement about the special items within their collection.
Unfortunately, people often collect something else - a record of the wrongs by which others have hurt them. Here’s how it happens:
- Someone on our morning commute abruptly cuts in front of us. We frown in fury as we lean on the car horn. We keep a record, remembering the incident so clearly that we recount the details of our exasperation with co-workers hours later at lunch and maybe more hours later with family members over dinner.
- When hurt by a friend or family member, we mentally record the incident. We add additional hurts to our collection day by day, week by week. We are all too eager to “share” our collection, many times without prompting, damaging everyone’s relationships.
Our heavenly Father is not at all like this. He does not keep a record of our wrongs, collecting the details by which we have offended him. Instead, he transferred all of our sinful actions, harsh words, and hateful thoughts onto Jesus, our Savior at Calvary’s cross. Standing in the shadow of his cross, our burden is lifted. Our sins are gone. Completely! In exchange, we have a totally new lifestyle:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you (Colossians 3:12–13 ESV).
Forgiveness never justifies another person’s sin. It doesn’t undo what happened in our past. But it does set in motion a much a better future for us. Forgiving others frees us to live in peace and joy!
Prayer starter: Dear Jesus, I do not in any way deserve your full and free forgiveness. Please help me heal and find peace as I forgive those who have hurt me. Especially help me forgive . . .
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is taken from CTA’s devotion book Precious and Dearly Loved. The five weeks of devotions in the book remind women of God’s all-encompassing love - a personal, powerful, never-ending love!
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