Creating a Habit of Forgiveness
Creating a Habit of Forgiveness
Continuing to look at 2 Timothy we can learn a great deal from Paul and his habits that he continued to develop during his great times of adversity. During Paul’s ministry and his adversity that he experienced he relied upon God’s power and God’s eternal plan completely. He was aware of what was happening to him and what was going on around him. He wasn’t like the ostrich that keeps his head stuck in the sand, and thus was unaware of what was happening around him. Paul dealt with the problems that he was encountering on a daily basis. 2 Timothy 4:18 (ESV) 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. He knew that those, like Alexander, who had done him great harm had someone greater to deal with. 2 Timothy 4:14 (ESV) 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
When we are feeling like the world was caving in around us and we are unable to cope with the pains that we are feeling, when our minds are being badgered with those quick tongued individuals that respond to the hurt when they offend us. When the strain of all that becomes more than we can bear, we must learn like Paul did and cast our cares upon the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. We must also learn to turn our weakness into prayer as Paul did. Throw yourself completely upon the grace of God, and trust Him to handle this in His own way, in His own time.
It was very apparent that Paul was more concerned about his relationship with God than his comfort. The greatest responsibility that Paul had was the proclamation of the gospel, this was the driving force in his life after his life-changing experience that he had on the road to Damascus. Proclaiming the gospel became his number one priority; more important than whatever adversity was unfolding in his personal life. He recognize that God’s strength was not designed solely for his own benefit but: 2 Timothy 4:17 (ESV) 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
God has strength enough for us today, He is able to rescue us from the mouth of the lion and set us free from the suffocating grip of our unforgiveness, just as He was for Paul. God has more in mind for us than just making sure that we are happy and content. His plan, His passion for transforming people, to the power of the gospel, is our calling.
During Paul’s ministry and adversities in his life he learned the secret of forbearance. This is not a word that all of us understand today. One translation uses “long-suffering”, we might also use the word fortitude. But it can also be one of our greatest weapons of helping us in our problem of unforgiveness. Forbear means to show restraint, to be patient in the face of provocation, to be long-suffering and willing to put up with people’s actions or inactions, to let things go. We could also say that forbearance is a product of love; the kind of love that is stated in: 1 Peter 4:8 (ESV) 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. In Paul’s chapter about love in 1 Corinthians 13 he stated it this way: 1 Corinthians 13:5–7 (ESV) 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The lack of forbearance in our world today causes us great adversity in our relationships with others on a daily basis. The lack of forbearance increases our tensions and intensifies the conflict and erects walls in our relationships, causes us to be petty and peevish and destroys relationships. Charles Spurgeon put it this way: “Until a fly’s egg becomes as huge as ever was laid by an ostrich”.