God loves us and wants us to live freely without the burden of the past. Part of living in that freedom is that He asks that we do for others what He has done for us. No matter what we’ve done when we come to Him and ask Him He gives us a fresh start; a clean slate and a blank page to begin again. (1 John 1:9) We then are encouraged to be “imitators of God” and to do the same. To think like He thinks, talk like He talks, act like He acts, and to forgive as He forgives.
Imagine if you wrote down all the wrong, messed up, negative, unkind things you have done and you gave that list to Jesus. He would then do one thing with that list – He would take it and tear it up and throw it away – essentially He would wipe your slate clean. If you come to Him He promises that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”. (Psalm 103:12).
Yet how many lists do we hold of other people’s faults and wrongdoing towards us? “Lists” where we have been disappointed or feel like a failure. Where we’ve held anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness in our heart. Lists on our husband or wife, partner, friends, family or workmates. Isn’t it time we extended the same grace and forgiveness we have been offered and choose to tear up those lists just as Jesus tore up ours?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us”(Ephesians 5:1-2)
Unfortunately too many of us, if we are not mindful to keep short accounts, to walk in forgiveness and choose to live free from taking offence is that we can all have a great many lists. Some we have carried around for a very long time, continually telling ourselves that’s okay.
However God knows our lists both on ourselves and other people and He encourages us to tear them up. In exchange He offers us a blank, brand new piece of paper and for us to offer other people that same gift. That doesn’t mean people won’t mess up or that we won’t stumble ourselves. But it does mean God, if we allow Him will teach and transform us to love and walk in forgiveness just as He does.
“And hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”. (Romans 5:5)
Take the time to examine your own heart. What “lists” do you have of your own failings, and what lists do you have of others shortcomings?
Today I encourage you to give God those lists and allow Him to cleanse, restore and make you and your relationships and future healthy and whole.
Prayer: Lord thank you that you offer me a blank page to write the next chapter of my story. I give you all of my lists. Forgive me where I have taken offense and harbored unforgiveness in my own heart. Today I choose to let go of the lists I hold on others and myself and choose to love and forgive just as you forgave me. In Jesus Name Amen.