It is definitely through the hardships of life that God does most of his sanctifying. God has used many things the past couple years to teach me hard lessons. It is hard to forgive. It is hard to let go of hurt. It is hard to give up and let things go, especially when I think I am right. Yet, I am not my own. I am bought by blood. I have to lay it all down.
Matthew 5 says:
You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
It continues to say
Love your enemies, pray for them who persecute you.
It is so easy to think of enemies or those who persecute as people in other countries that are called to die for Christ, to watch their houses burned and friends and family tortured for HIS name. God used the extreme of any situation here... those who are your enemies. If God wants me not only to forgive, but LOVE my enemies, do I not think He wants me to love those who are a thorn in the side, a nuisance, add stress to my life or deeply hurt me. Love them! It is a high calling and not doable in my own strength. It happens as God changes me to look more like Him.
Forgiveness is so much God's will that it will affect our relationship with God if we don't. I have found often that when I won't forgive I am holding on to pride. There is some part of me that believes I deserve better treatment. It is my right.
I am required to do this because I have no rights. None. A slave should care for nothing except the will of his master.
Or do you not know that your body is a [fn11] temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from [fn12] God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
I am free to love because I am not my own. I am free to forgive because it is His job to take care of me. I have heard often times that we are the slaves of Christ. However, when Christ purchased us with His blood as His slaves, He also in doing so took on the role of Master. It is His job by His covenant with us to protect us. How glorious is that! How undeserved and God in is His goodness grants us a position of protection from anything He doesn't see fit for us to endure.
So then am I to become a doormat, someone to be tossed around and used by anyone? No! Let's look at the person we are struggling with to love, let us look at the person that has hurt us deeply. As a bond servant of the Most High I am to obey what God wants for the best for myself. I need to know the scriptures, who God is and how He wants me to live. The Bible tells us that it is not wise to fellowship with fools, the ungodly or "Christians" living in unrepentant sin. We are not to allow them into our home, and as in principle our intimate lives, those that cause dissension or teach heresy. We are to abstain from evil. However, I will not be rejecting them, I will be obeying God's principles that He has laid out for me to live by. I am obeying my master.
So the next time I come across a difficult person, it is easier to love, forgive because I know they don't answer to me but to God for the Master is responsible for his slave. I need to love because without Him, I would be just like them and many times I still act in the flesh. I can go the extra mile, show the kindness, be polite, witness within God's protective limits because He cares for me.