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Getting God's Perspective on Forgiveness

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
We want to learn to deal with any difficult situation in a way that wins God’s commendations. -

The Forgiveness Series – Article 3 of 71

To be conscious of God means that we maintain awareness that God is present in the midst of every problem. When we are conscious of God, we view each trial with God’s perspective. We see that God is up to very specific work in our lives. As we respond biblically to our trials, people will marvel at our God-given ability to persevere. However, it is more important to realize that God stands ready to commend us as we respond obediently to His commands.

The writer of 1 Peter 2:19 provides us the principle with which to begin our consideration of biblical forgiveness. “It is commendable, if because he is conscious of God, a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” Whatever difficulties we are walking through, whatever hurts we are experiencing, whether in our personal relationships, our jobs or our health, we are to be commended if we are bearing up under them. This passage reveals to us the only way in which we are able to bear up under our trials, “because you are conscious of God.”

The Lord God is in our trials!

To be conscious of God means that we maintain an awareness of the fact that God is present in the midst of every problem we encounter. The Lord Himself is a participant in our trials. Someone who is conscious of God seeks to view each trial he faces with God’s perspective. That person has reached the point where he understands that God is up to a very specific work in his life in the midst of a difficult situation.

Is God applauding you?

The literal meaning of the word commendable is “to clap.” When a Greek or Roman athlete won a competition, the crowds would cheer and applaud his victory. As we respond biblically to whatever trials we are facing, those people whom God has placed in our lives will marvel at our God-given ability to persevere. They will see that our response is worthy of commendation. More noteworthy, however, is the fact that God will commend us. He is the one who has allowed us to go through the difficult situations we are facing, and He stands ready to commend us as we respond obediently and wisely to His commands.

Do you have a sense today, that God is commending you for the way in which you are dealing with the problems in your marriage? What about the problems associated with your workplace? Are you experiencing God’s commendations for your Christ-like attitude towards that rebellious teenager? If not, rest assured. You can learn to deal with any difficult situation of life, in such a way that you may win God’s commendations.

The Ugly Ditch

Several years ago, my counseling office was located in a medical building in Greenville, South Carolina. I will never forget the first time I drove onto the property of this facility. It was beautiful. With its colorful flowers and manicured lawn, the landscaping that surrounded the building reminded me of Disney World. Behind the building, however, was an ugly drainage ditch, visible only from an inside office window.

Often, after I had read I Peter 2:19 to a counselee, I would lead him to that window and ask him to look out and describe to me what he saw. As the counselee viewed the slimy, green water with beer cans and filth floating around in it, his response was generally something like, “Yuk!” Then I would tell him that the ditch represents the life of someone who has very little joy or peace. Our goal in the counseling process would be to take him on a pilgrimage. By the end of our sessions together, we would figuratively work our way around to the other side of the building where everything looked beautiful, smelled good and was in every way appealing.

We must embark on a journey to a new perspective.

God desires to rescue each of His children from the cesspool of sinful behavior and an unforgiving heart. He promises to take us to a place where we will have peace beyond comprehension. He wants to give us a wellspring of joy that bubbles up within us. Best of all, when we learn to forgive as He forgives, God will grant us a deep, abiding contentment regardless of our earthly circumstances.


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