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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Making Monuments of Grace to Forgiveness

I heard it said recently, that when we finally do reconcile matters of forgiveness, when bitterness is finally put to bed, and resentment is retired to pasture, that we ought to make a monument to that episode of forgiveness.
Can you imagine how pleased God is?
God will well say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
So much of life in the realm of forgiveness is plain hard work, where that hard work seems to take so long to bear such little fruit.
Forgiveness is very tiring work. It’s arduous. It’s traumatic. It involves much trial and error. But when we don’t give up, we stand ultimately a victor!
The monument to forgiveness compensates. We stand by and enjoy that monument we built to that beautiful iteration of God’s grace that empowered our forgiveness. The monument signifies the size of the task we took on. It symbolises the pride we had to overcome. It solemnises a rite of passage we’ve made in honouring God such that God now very well honours us by our growth in grace. Our forgiveness has proven the strength and the miraculousness of God’s heavenly grace.
Further than mere compensation, the forgiveness monument is a memory stone for a victory we had, we enjoyed, and can ever enjoy again! That’s the blessing of forgiveness — it gives and gives and gives. Every interaction with the one we forgave reinforces that this grace gift is real. The negative power that once strode within us is now defunct. Every single one of those interactions with the person we could still be bitter toward, but have chosen not to be, is a fresh victory — for the two of us, and for God, no less! The person we’ve forgiven is appropriately grateful for the grace they’ve experienced from us, firsthand.
Forgiveness made known and real ought always to be celebrated. It was darn hard work! There are no tasks of forgiveness that are ever easy. So for the hard work we did in obeying God, in surrendering our pride, in owning the truth that if we deserve God’s forgiveness, they too deserve ours, we enjoy the fruit of that work.
Part of our monument is built to gratitude. How thankful we are to God, that without him instilling within us the reason to forgive — that it’s the right (biblical) thing to do — we would not even be at first base yet.
The forgiveness monument makes something significant out of something that will now always be significant. These are important life lessons. In any event, life is hard enough, and not least is the bitter resentment to overcome, that something positively big ought to be made of something so big.
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That ground you took from the enemy, Satan — that ground of bitter resentment — that ground, is now a cause of God’s praise because you forgave! Do you not think that God will not reward you?
God’s reward for the character work required of forgiveness is an all-abiding monument of peace. All glory to God for the grace partaken in forgiving someone we could still be bitter toward.
Monuments to forgiveness help us remember what it was like to experience and to give God’s grace.
Monuments to forgiveness celebrate and reinforce how God’s grace helps us when we can’t help ourselves.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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