Saturday, February 8, 2020

Love Forgives - Martin Wiles

Series: Love Unchained

Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 NLT

They were driving home from a training conference and soon planned to leave for Japan as missionaries … but things changed quickly.

Tony Weekly got distracted by his jumbo drink and his hands-free phone. Before he knew what was happening, his semi slammed into a minivan ridden in by Jamison and Kathryne Pals and their three children. The crash killed all five members of the family, along with the driver of another vehicle.

Weekly pleaded no contest to the six felony counts of vehicular homicide. In spite of his great loss, Jamison’s father pleaded with the judge to show Weekly mercy. He said, "In spite of the anguish, there were other words that came to me—words like forgiveness, mercy, and hope." Then he told Weekly, "I can honestly say, Tony, both families have forgiven you. I know how much God's forgiven me. How could I not forgive you?”

Even though the prosecutor pleaded for jail time for Weekly, the judge gave mercy, sentencing Weekly to 180 days in jail—30 of which had already been served—and two years’ probation for each of the victims. After the court session, Weekly and Pals hugged.

While hatred stirs up quarrels, the writer of Proverbs says love covers all offenses. God’s agape’ love does this, but not because He merely overlooks our sins despite our response to Him. They are covered because Jesus paid for them on Calvary’s cross. Even believing that is not enough in and of itself. We must accept His sacrifice and follow Him. When we do, God applies Christ’s righteousness to our lives. From that moment on, He sees us in Christ, not in our sins. Based on that, He can forgive and release us from condemnation.

This love we now have for Christ cannot be divided. Neither will Christ accept our attempt to divide our loyalty. Jesus said it best: No one can serve two masters … You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money (or anything else) (Matthew 6:24).

Once our lives are totally given over to Christ, fear leaves. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18). God will never cast us aside, and no one possesses more power than He does to keep us in His care.

Think about whom you need to forgive. Then, based on what God has done for you, forgive them.

Prayer: Father, give us the strength to forgive others, even as You forgive us.

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