LOVE THAT FORGIVES!
Saturday, 26 May 2018
Proverbs 10 : 1-32
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions. (Proverbs 10:12)
Penned by King Solomon, Proverbs 10 are words of wisdom contrasting the righteous and the wicked, distinguishing the ways of God’s children from the ways of the world. How do we respond when we are wronged, or people slander us? Proverbs 10:12 teaches us that ‘Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.’ On the outset this may seem to be a comparison of love and hatred, but it dwells deeper into the intentions of the heart and how we are to respond to wickedness.
The Dangers of Hatred: Not only does hatred bring harm and destruction in the lives of those around us, but holding on to anger towards others leads to bitterness and resentment in our own lives. If you say you love God, but hate you brother, you are still in darkness. (1 John 4:20, 1 John 2:9) Hatred and an unforgiving heart are a hindrance to prayer and fellowship with God. (Mark 11:25) Jesus teaches us that in holding hatred towards a person, we commit murder in the heart and are subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:21-22) Therefore, if you are holding a grudge against anyone make amends and seek forgiveness.
Love that Forgives: As children of God, we who have received the immeasurable love and mercy of God, are called to respond under all circumstances in love. When we are treated unjustly, we are taught to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, that we may be children of our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44 Paraphrased) In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul expounds on true Christian love that enables us to forgive ‘Love is patient, love is kind … It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’ Love should be our motivation in service to other, in forgiving an offense and in forbearance towards provocation. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14) Love is a willing choice that we need to make.
An example to follow: God is love and He Himself has set the very example of agape love that we are to follow: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) The Father’s love for us was so deep that He did not withhold even His own Son from us. We experience Christ’s love for us, in giving all of Himself to suffer shame and persecution to the point of death as our substitute, that we who were separated from God would be reconciled to Him. (Romans 5:8) Beaten and pierced, nailed to the Cross, He still looked at his persecutors in love and prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)
Thought: Let us follow our Lord’s example that overlooks the wrongs done and willingly chooses to love, forgive and serve others. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
A Command to Obey: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
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