I was watching the movie, “Amish Grace” the other night. It is a moving and disturbing piece to watch. However, what struck me was the power of forgiveness in the lives of the Amish community. In a particularly moving scene, one of the Amish elders said that the community had to forgive the man who had murdered their precious, innocent little girls because Jesus, 'Commands us to forgive.' This mans faith was simplistic and yet authentic. Simply put, he said if we are going to call ourselves Christ followers then we have to practice what the Bible says even when it is incredibly difficult.
What struck me was the raw obedience that this community displayed in the midst of the most tragic of circumstances. And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if every Christ follower did what Jesus called them to do?”
There are some people who read their Bible religiously and on a daily basis. The problem is when they do not practice what the Bible says. Listen to what Jesus said about those types of people in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
You can read the Bible all day and it will do you absolutely no good unless you put into practice what you have read. I suppose one of the greatest places to start with practicing what we read is in the area of forgiveness. When you have been wronged and hurt it is difficult to forgive. But forgiveness is not negotiable. If you are a Christ follower then forgiveness is foundational to your faith. Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It cannot be any simpler than Paul puts it here. Forgiveness is as important for you as it is for the other person. If you do not forgive, you can become bitter and I can almost guarantee that your soul will begin to atrophy.
It is my prayer that as Christ followers we will read our Bible on a daily basis. But much more than that, it is my hope that we will practice what we have read and that they will not be mere words on a page, but they will be words that go deeply into our hearts that we express by the way in which we live our lives.
May your life tell an incredible story. A story that is beautiful and captivating because it is authentic and reveals the God who lives in you.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,