I have a friend that is struggling with the raw emotions and memories of her childhood and teenage years. Suffice to say that her early years of life on this planet were horribly tragic and disillusioning – full to the brim with heartache and disappointment.
I am no stranger to the aforementioned, but I have come a long way from my childhood and teenage years, and have experienced great physical, emotional, and spiritual healing by living my life according to three fundamental principles: Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness.
The first of these principles, Love, is where all things in this life and the next, begin and end. The love that I speak about is not erotic love or eros, or even the emotions we experience when we are in “love” with another human being. The love that I am referring to is true love – Biblical love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
If we can honestly and truthfully say that we love someone else, a friend, a neighbour, a family member, a girlfriend or boyfriend, a spouse, or even a stranger, in the same manner as outlined in the scripture, we are truly on our way to wholeness and completeness in our own lives.
It has been my life experience, that if I have practiced and experienced the Biblical principles of love, via the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit (who dwells within every believer in Christ), moving towards acceptance of myself and others is so much easier. The basis or very foundation of our acceptance is rooted in another biblical principle:
Being justified by faith, we have peace (acceptance) with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 NIV
God is able to be at peace with us and accept us through our Lord Jesus Christ.
And through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1:20 NLT
And we must never forget that His peace is founded solely on the work of the cross, totally apart from anything whatsoever in or from us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV
God’s basis for our acceptance must be our basis for acceptance of ourselves and others. There is no other way.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ.
In Him we were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, would be for the praise of His glory.
And in Him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, having heard and believed the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. The Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:7-14 Berean Study Bible
Because God, through Jesus Christ, loves and accepts us, we have the power (via the Holy Spirit) to love, not only ourselves properly, but all of humanity. This is such a powerful statement in itself. Because He loved and accepted us, we are also ABLE to love and accept one another.
The final principle is Forgiveness. The Bible tells us:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Out of a gentle and loving heart, we forgive others because God forgave us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
If we acknowledge our faults, our errors, missing the mark of God’s standard, our willful rebellion, our sins – God will forgive us and wash us clean, and we will be made whole.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 ESV
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13 ESV
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 ESV
As you can see, forgiveness for our own sins is conditional to forgiving others. So simple and yet so profound. Our willingness to apply the Biblical principles of forgiveness is a life-long journey towards healing and wholeness in our own lives. We are literally made complete, in the likeness of Christ, by our willingness to forgive others unconditionally.
One of the dangers of reading a short post on the Biblical principles of Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness, is that it is quite easy to just mentally agree or assent with the aforementioned, gloss over the scripture, and move on in our often very busy lives. We all tend to do that to our own peril.
It is like looking intently in a mirror, and then walking away, forgetting what we truly look like.
I cannot speak for others, but I have decided to write down and commit these passages to memory. Some of the verses are already indelibly imbedded in my heart and mind. This has proven useful, as the Holy Spirit continually reminds me of the scriptures, that I have hidden in my heart, in everyday situations.
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NLT
Sometimes, I need to confess my sins to God and God alone. Other times I need to make right (as far as it depends on me) a relationship(s) before I can truly expect God to forgive me. Often, I just need to forgive myself for my blunders, as I tend to be very hard on myself.
Wow, a whole new day is ahead of me to live out the very principles I teach to others. It is a great day to be alive!
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