Forgiveness (Bible Tag 12)
The book of Philemon, one of Paul's shortest and most explosive letters, demonstrates the Gospel through action. It is addressed to Philemon, whose slave Onesimus fled and became a believer as a result of Paul's teaching.
Paul assists his friend Philemon in reconciling with his fugitive former slave Onesimus.
The Bible Project video above explains that Paul begs Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him as an equal. God's grace has made them partners under the new humanity that Jesus has established because they are both followers of Jesus.
While Paul does not directly mention Jesus' death and resurrection in this letter, he does offer to take on any punishment Onesimus deserves as a demonstration of what Jesus did on the cross. As he reconciles with Onesimus before God, he encourages Philemon to do the same.
Jesus placed forgiveness at the center of his message. The idea behind forgiveness is that even though God (and/or other people) really did care, they won't hold the offender responsible for their actions. In other words, forgiveness is not the same as tolerance; rather, it is the ability to recognize that something was wrong and then treat the offender as if it never happened. Jesus urged his followers to show one another the same forgiveness.
Even when we make a sincere decision to forgive, our emotions may take some time to catch up. Emotional triggers are like light switches that turn on painful memories and make us feel them all over again. They can bring back the pain and make us believe we never truly forgiven in the first place. When this happens, instead of listening to the lies that tell you've never forgiven, speak to your soul and remind yourself that you have. Ask God for help.
Jesus told a parable about a man with two sons. One took his father's inheritance and squandered it on wild living before his father died. The son came to his senses after losing everything and returned home to his father. His father forgave him, gave him new clothes, and threw a big party for him. Jesus was essentially saying, "There, that's what forgiveness looks like," by telling this story.
I have been carrying a burden of resentment, anger, and bitterness. I am in the process of releasing that weight and shifting it to God's shoulders. I will no longer be bound by unforgiveness; instead, I will live free. I will no longer hold the offense against the offender. I will not replay the offense in my mind, but will instead repeat God's grace in my heart. I recognize that I cannot do this on my own and I acknowledge the Holy Spirit's power in enabling me to do all that God has called me to do. And, when I am reminded of an offense, I will ask God to help me to remember that I have forgiven the offender and put the offense behind me.
Henry Ward Beecher, a popular nineteenth-century American preacher, said,
Let me saw off a branch from one of the trees that is now budding in my garden, and all summer long there will be an ugly scar where the gash has been made; but by next autumn it will be perfectly covered over by the growing; and by the following autumn it will be hidden out of sight; and in four or five years there will be but a slight scar to show where it has been; and in ten or twenty years you would never suspect that there had been an amputation. Trees know how to overgrow their injuries, and hide them: and love does not wait so long as trees do (Cited in Encyclopedia of 2585 Illustrations [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.], 260).
Week 12 Bible Prompt
As you stitch this week, thank God for His forgiveness and pray to forgive as He has forgiven you. Include the Lazy Daisy stitch.
- Forgiveness Verses
- Lazy Daisy Tags on Instagram
- Slow Stich Bible Journal Facebook Group
- Bible Journal Love Facebook Group
- Five Stitches for Hand Lettering Video
- Printing on Fabric Video
- Printing on Fabric with Freezer Paper
The Bible Project videos are added to enhance the lessons and used with permission. Bible project offers these videos free on Youtube and at BibleProject.com