“So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” 2:12-13
This verse terrifies me. I struggle greatly with extending forgiveness and mercy to people, including myself. Sometimes I imagine God reviewing my life with me, exposing every grudge held, every tangled root of bitterness strangling me.
He is clear here, and elsewhere in Scripture, forgiveness is demanded of us. Not suggested, but expected. Forgive, forgive, forgive. I would rattle off example verses, but it’d be quicker for you to flip through the New Testament and put your finger anywhere on a page to find Jesus talking about forgiveness.
But God doesn’t want me to live in fear of his punishment, that’s not what he’s invited me into. He’s invited me into a relationship with him, where he is strong where I am weak. I do not easily forgive, but he does. And I host his Holy Spirit, who covers me and bridges the gap between my fleshly and godly desires.
So I ask for help. And it works. He softens my heart towards the people who have wronged me, he underlines his grace in my life, he leads me towards moments to be merciful. The biggest gift has been the people in my life who model forgiveness beautifully. It’s contagious. He’s a gracious God, he wants us to become more like his son Jesus and will offer every resource to help us do so.
Do you struggle with forgiveness?
If not, how can you come alongside someone who does and help them?