14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:14-15
I was struck by this passage and how it relates to forgiveness:
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2
It says "for the joy", He did what needed to be done. It's not often you see joy in the same sentence as what was endured at the cross, but this passage tells us clearly that joy was the reason he hung on the cross that day.
Jesus died a painful death on the cross so that we would be forgiven, so that we would have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, so that we would spend eternity with Him in heaven....that's the joy. He took all our pain, all our sin, all our guilt and shame with Him, and He did it for joy. Joy.
So when we live out our lives in this broken world, having people offend us throughout our walk, shouldn't we be doing it with joy in our hearts as well? It should be for the joy that we endure the pain, the mockery, the judgment...for the joy that we press on in difficult relationships, that we love the unlovable, that we forgive the unforgivable. It should be our joy to do those things because we know what it's all for, we know how this story ends. We know for the little part we play in this story, we only have one purpose - to bring people to the kingdom. If that's going to happen, we need to do it all for the joy, or they will never see Him in us.
So what would it look like to endure the pain of this world if we were to do it with joy? I know what it wouldn't look like - there would be no complaining, no harshness in our response, no unforgiveness, anger, control, manipulation, gossip.... Our response in ALL situations would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. That's what it would look like. Whew. I've got some work to do.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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