Forgive Like Jesus

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)

When Jesus first appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, they technically should not have been on the best of terms. All of the disciples had abandoned Jesus in the midst of His darkest hours. They ran from Him and hid in fear. Peter even denied knowing Jesus multiple times.

Instead of walking into the room spouting off words of condemnation and accusation, the first thing out of Jesus’ mouth when He appeared to the disciples was, “Peace be with you!” Not only did He tell them to be at peace, but He didn’t even mention the way they had treated Him just days earlier.

There is never a point in Scripture that records the disciples coming to Jesus and saying, “Lord, we abandoned you. We betrayed you. We denied you. Please forgive us.” As far as we know, this never happened, but Jesus forgave them anyway. As His followers, we should handle forgiveness in the exact same way.

Often, we are tempted to insert qualifiers for our forgiveness, or standards which must be met by the people who have hurt us. We forgive if they apologize. We forgive if they show enough remorse. We forgive if they promise not to do it again. However, forgiveness should never be conditional.

Jesus forgave us before we even existed. He forgave us for every sin we would commit before we even had the chance to commit them. It didn’t matter if we said we were sorry or if we promised we wouldn’t make the same mistake again. He forgave us lovingly, compassionately, and unconditionally.

Is there someone in your life who you need to forgive? Whether they have asked for your forgiveness or not, it is important as followers of Christ that we extend the same forgiveness we have received from God. If there is someone on your heart right now who has hurt you, I pray you would model the love of Christ by forgiving them, just as Christ has forgiven you.

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