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Bible digging: monthly Bible study
Monthly Bible study feature
Updated May 22, 2017
"A Forgiving Spirit"

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"A Forgiving Spirit" (posted May 22, 2017)
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   Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
   - Luke 23:34

While many people have struggled to save a friend, our dying Savior used His expiring breath to plead for His enemies. At the climax of His sufferings at the hands of ungrateful men, He makes the plea above. To one who would ask Him, "How often shall I forgive?" He says, "Not until seven times, but until seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:21-22).

With some people, superiority to an insult proceeds from a cold and indifferent temperament-- they have a stoic insensibility to both kindness and unkindness alike. It was not so with Jesus. His holy nature made Him keenly sensitive to ingratitude and injury, whether arising from enmity or treachery.

But many are more willing to forgive an open and unmasked antagonist than to forgive and forget heartless faithlessness or unrequited love. Not so the Lord! Notice how He deals with His own disciples who had forsaken Him when He most needed their sympathy. No sooner does He rise from the dead than He hastens to disarm their fears and to assure them of an unalterable affection. He meets them with a blessing (John 20:20-21) and He leaves them, at His ascension, also with a blessing (Luke 24:50).

Like the Lord, you should have no enemy, nor harbor a resentful thought, nor act with bitter recrimination. Put the best construction on the failings of others and make no injurious comments or insinuations. Consider yourself lest you also be tempted (Galatians 6:1).

When disposed to cherish an unforgiving spirit, consider where you would be if the Lord were to behave this way toward you. Remember, we are told: "Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do" (Colossians 3:13).

John R. MacDuff

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