Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
There’s an Old Testament story about 3 kings who converge in the wilderness with their 3 armies to attack a neighboring kingdom which had refused to pay its annual tribute of lambs and wool. While these attacking armies were on an energetically roundabout march in the desert for 7 days, they completely ran out of water. After a little discussion and an abundance of whining, they finally called a prophet for help. But this prophet was more than a little grouchy, so they soothed him with some harp music to help him hear a word from the Lord. Thankfully, it worked and the cranky prophet brought tremendously encouraging news:
This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab!
2 Kings 3:16-19
Sure enough, the very next morning, the land was miraculously filled with water. No rain, no storms, yet an inexplicable abundance of water. Can you imagine how good it felt for these parched soldiers to drink from this beautiful, fresh source of water? And this huge valley of water also played a key role in the victory the 3 armies had over the kingdom of Moab. This amazing rescue was “only a simple thing for the Lord.”
Much like how it was a simple thing for the Lord to fill that dry, desert valley with water, he can help us accomplish the topic of our final devotion this week – forgiveness. No discussion on unity would be complete without it, but this subject isn’t easy. It does NOT feel like a simple thing to forgive when we’ve been truly and deeply hurt in a relationship. Even when we choose to forgive someone, it’s rarely a “one and done” kind of thing. This act of forgiving is ongoing and it becomes even more wretchedly difficult as new aspects of the damage are uncovered. And what it the offending party keeps making sinful choices? What if he/she keeps inflicting injury?
When wrestling through this process of forgiveness, it is so incredibly easy to become resentful. This battle can easily drag us down into a veritable dungeon of darkness where the enemy’s heavy chains threaten to choke all the joy, peace and life right out of us. But as believers, we have a secret weapon. While forgiving is not a simple thing for us to do, it is a simple thing for the Lord.
God is ready and willing to step in to help us to defeat this foe of un-forgiveness. We only have to invite him to do it, and the extremely happy news is that we don’t need the help of a grouchy prophet. Because of Jesus Christ, we have direct access to the Most High God, and we also have his Spirit living inside of us who will empower us to forgive.
Think About: Are you held captive by chains of un-forgiveness? Have you let resentment and bitterness choke your life? Will you choose today to unleash the streams of refreshment and healing by asking God for help?
Pray: Most gracious and heavenly Father, please help me to forgive ________. Your Word tells me that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, so I invite you into these places of bitterness and resentment. Set me free. Open the heavens and come Living Water. Thank you for raining down your love on me.