Scripture: Romans 12:17-21
2. Cherish Being Forgiven by God
The second way to battle the unbelief of bitterness is to really cherish being forgiven by God. Underline the word cherish.
Paul said in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” In other words, being forgiven by God should have a powerful effect on our being forgiving people and not hold grudges, and not being bitter.
How does being forgiven make you a forgiving person? We answer: by faith in our being forgiven. By believing that we are forgiven.
But that woman 18 years ago who would not forgive her mother believed that she was forgiven. She would not let the sin of her grudge shake her security.
What’s wrong here? What’s wrong is that she didn’t know what true saving faith is. Saving faith is not merely believing that you are forgiven. Saving faith means believing that God’s forgiveness is an awesome thing! Saving faith looks at the horror of sin and then looks at the holiness of God and believes that God’s forgiveness is a staggering beauty and unspeakably glorious. Faith in God’s forgiveness does not merely mean confidence that I am off the hook. It means confidence that this is the most precious thing in the world. That’s why I use the word cherish. Saving faith cherishes being forgiven by God.
And there’s the link with the battle against bitterness. You can go on holding a grudge if your faith simply means you are off the hook. But if faith means standing in awe of being forgiven by God, then you can’t go on holding a grudge. You have fallen in love with mercy. It’s your life. So you battle bitterness by fighting for the faith that stands in awe of God’s forgiveness of your sins.