It Takes Grace To Forgive

WHEN a friend you trust and love says something unkind and unjust, is there anything you can do to quiet the anger or hurt you might feel in your heart? You can turn to God in prayer.

Christian Science has shown me that to love God and honor Him I must also love my fellow men and women. It has shown me that it takes grace to forgive others. I have learned to understand that other people are God's children just as I am. A book by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, entitled Miscellaneous Writings, says, "We should measure our love for God by our love for man . . ." (p. 12). In the same article we read this: "Love is the fulfilling of the law: it is grace, mercy, and justice" (p. 11).

The entire healing ministry of Jesus Christ was based on the fact that grace and love produce actual healing activity in human lives. We read in the Bible, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

The demands of such grace were shown to Peter after he asked Jesus the following question: "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Jesus responded, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:21, 22). Jesus was making the point with Peter that we need to have such love for God and our neighbor that forgiveness becomes something we express naturally.

Grace is something we must express every day. And we will be able to show this grace if we realize that God is Spirit and has created all of His children spiritually. On this basis, each individual is a perfect son or daughter of God despite contrary evidence. The practice of identifying others spiritually begins to reveal God's qualities, which are expressed to us as honesty, kindness, goodness, intelligence, humility, and so forth. It may not always be easy to discern these, but if we are holding our perception to the spiritual identity of man, we will be able to perceive them.

This actually brings more peace and harmony to human relationships. You might say it involves putting relationships on a more spiritual foundation. Then, if there is a disruption in a relationship, it can be more easily healed. Why? Because we will respond with the grace and forgiveness Jesus spoke of. Human relationships can weather challenges, but it's a willingness to express the love Jesus taught that empowers the change.

Identifying yourself and your friends as God's children, you need not worry about how to patch up a broken relationship. Instead your prayer can show how each person's unity with God is good and does not change. It's just as true of you as it is of your friends. You can trust God's love to heal. Practically speaking, this trust will lead you into the most appropriate and graceful means of reestablishing things. This is God's way of healing.

I found help in this way when a friend's words wounded me, so to speak. Growth in grace took place when I prayed to forgive this friend. I endeavored to put our relationship on a spiritual basis, using the ideas expressed in this article. This brought peace and healing.

All friendships can be enriched as we love God first in our lives. Then treasuring each individual as a child of God, we find that each one's importance and value becomes apparent. We're loving who that person truly is-God's valued son or daughter.

Blessed be the God and Father

of our Lord Jesus Christ, who

hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places

in Christ: . . . In whom we have redemption through his blood,

the forgiveness of sins, according

to the riches of his grace.

Ephesians 1:3, 7

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