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Loving With An Unburdened Heart
By Teske Drake
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47 NIV
The harboring of past hurts can lead to the undoing of a relationship.
Consider those relationships in your own life that have come to an end or perhaps are forever changed due to a conflict or tension that occurred. Next, think about how the conflict was handled.
How might forgiveness have impacted the outcome?
In relationships, there is great power in forgiveness. By its very definition, to forgive means to “to give up resentment of or claim to requital for” or “to grant relief from payment of” (Merriam-Webster).
From a worldly perspective, to forgive is no easy task when hurt is involved. Our human inclination begs us to hold grudges and harbor hurt, which inevitably leads to anger, bitterness, and resentment.
True forgiveness, however, keeps no record of wrongs; the very words used to describe the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:5. Forgiveness enveloped in love is the crux of our faith.
And is there truly any other kind of forgiveness, except that which is given in love?
Choosing love naturally elicits the extension of forgiveness. Love beyond comprehension was demonstrated on the cross, where Jesus shed His blood to pay the debt of our sin. Ephesians 1:7-8 says,
In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
To truly live unburdened, we must relinquish the sin burden that we carry by surrendering to what Jesus endured in our place. 1 John 1:9 assures us,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
What an amazing gift of peace, now and into eternity.
God’s offer of forgiveness toward us is the example that we should lovingly live out in our daily lives. We are commanded to “forgive as the Lord forgave” (Colossians 3:13). Our motivation is love, for God and for our neighbor.
Consider the sinful woman described in Luke, chapter 7. She demonstrated her love for Jesus by going against the expectations of those around her. She washed His feet with her tears and hair.
Jesus, in return, didn’t judge her by her past. Rather, He assessed her heart in that moment and spoke these words to her: “Your sins are forgiven….Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50).
How might our relationships look if we approached God and others for forgiveness with the same heart of this woman? What’s more, what if we each responded in the same merciful manner as Jesus?
We’d be living and loving as God intended, with an unburdened heart.
Read Luke 7:36-50 and examine yourself.
Who do you most resemble – Simon “the Pharisee” or the “sinful woman”?
Pray and ask for God’s help to intentionally show love and forgiveness to others.
Heavenly Father, help me to live with an unburdened heart. Though it’s tempting to hold grudges and harbor past hurts, help me to be quick to forgive as You have forgiven me. I desire to live in the freedom that forgiveness brings. Thank You for forgiving me and help me to have a heart of forgiveness toward others. Amen.
© 2016 by Teske Drake. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Tuesday, 18 October 2016.