Memory Verse Devotional - Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
There are several benefits of forgiveness. It can release us from the bondage of bitterness, it can release the other person from the guilt they may feel, and it can heal relationships. Despite these wonderful benefits of forgiveness, why do we forgive? Paul tells us plainly that we are to "forgive as the Lord forgave you." We should forgive because we are forgiven.
It sounds simple, but it's complicated. In the midst of our fevered emotions and the unfortunate events that triggered everything, we begin to talk ourselves out of forgiveness because our situation is somehow "different". We may want to hold on to these broken feelings so we can stay in control. Ironically, we loose control when we hold onto those feelings. We ultimately become a slave to the painful memories that we rehearse over and over in our head.
In the surrounding verses, Paul instructs us about virtues that we should "put on" like clothing. He says, "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...and over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Love has the ability to unify anything. When Jesus said to love our enemy, he knew that love would bring about compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. How could we not forgive someone if all of these virtues are flowing out of us when we love?
The word "forgive" has a revealing Greek root. It comes from "Apoluo" which means to "set free" or to "let go". What are you holding onto and refusing to let go? Forgiveness is about setting free the person that offended you. It's about releasing the memory that has been controlling your mind. We find incredible freedom in forgiveness. Above all, we give grace to others because it was given to us first. We must be dispensers of God's grace and overcome evil with good.