Keep God’s Love Flowing

Colossians 3:13(NLT) instructs, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” The act of forgiveness is a very conscious one. It is to consciously move out emotions of anger, rage, bitterness and resentment so they no longer occupy space in our hearts. Then, we invite the love of Christ to swell within us by choosing to please God rather than turning away from Him. The result of this choice is that the space we gave injurious and sinful feelings and emotions will be occupied by the love and light of Christ. This forgiving action frees us because through the action we take to forgive others, we will no longer identify with a nature that is beneath who God has made us. To forgive is to let people off the hook for behaving badly towards us. It is to pardon their transgression as we ourselves have been pardoned of our sin through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

We might be tempted to think that the person that has hurt us in some way doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but this is a thought, attitude, and behavior that contradicts the truth that God has taught us. 1John 1:9(ESV) says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This extraordinarily wonderful truth about God’s goodness shows us that He doesn’t discriminate. Everyone that asks Him to forgive their sins will receive His forgiveness. And if God forgives everyone, who are we to do less and attempt to hold grudges? Holding grudges is holding bitterness and resentment in our hearts. These represent the baggage that keep us weighted down, and they keep us from walking in the blessings of God. Resentment and bitterness can only attract the things that cause them to increase, therefore, we should get rid of them as quickly as possible.

We are commanded by God to let the love of Christ rule our hearts. Colossians 3:15(NLT) instructs, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” This is God’s directive to us. We have been instructed to make the conscious choice to let the peace of Christ have top billing in our hearts. Anger, bitterness, and resentment should never rule us because God has called us to live according to the same peace that Christ demonstrated when he walked the earth.

We were born to be a blessing, to let God’s love have its way in us as we move to express it in everything that we do. This is the way to live life with a forgiving heart that is full of God’s grace. Again, it is a choice to live this way, and sadly many people do not make this choice. 1Samuel 25 tells us about a man that chose not to have a forgiving heart, but a heart full of resentment, anger, and bitterness. His name is Nabal, and his meanness is etched in history because for thousands of years, every person that has read his record in God’s Word has witnessed the legacy of darkness he left behind. We must be ever so careful. All of us have a legacy to leave, and as born-again believers, we must be interested in leaving a legacy of God’s love. Everything we do matters, and we should do all that we can to avoid an imprint upon the earth like Nabal’s.

1Samuel 25:1 tells us that Nabal was a very wealthy man, and he lived in a time in the Old Testament where there was no far-reaching system of law and rule. People could be incredibly ruthless in their dealings. Theft, pillaging, looting, and mass murder were not uncommon. Wealthy men carried prominence because it meant they employed enough servants or employees to care for their crops and animals and to protect their belongings as well. Nabal had plenty of property, herds, and servants; much to be thankful for, yet 1Samuel 25:3 informs us that he was crude and mean in all his dealings.

While David was on the run from King Saul, he moved from place to place, and he also had lots of servants and soldiers in his entourage as well. During one of David’s stays in Carmel, he ran across Nabal’s shepherds, and he was kind to them. David’s men never stole or harmed Nabal’s men in any way, and he sent word to Nabal indicating this. You see, David was hoping Nabal might do him a solid, and share provisions with him and his men, but Nabal wouldn’t have it. His reply to David in 1Samuel 25:10-11(NLT) was, “10 Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. 11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?””

Abigail, a very beautiful woman that was notorious for having good sense, was Nabal’s wife. The servants notified her that her husband’s foolish deed against David was going to cause death for all of them, because David swore to ruthlessly avenge the great offense of Nabal’s reply. Abigail saved the day by gathering the provision without Nabal’s knowledge and presenting them humbly before David. Meanwhile, Nabal was partying up a storm, oblivious to how close he had brought his entire family and servants to death. The next morning, when he had sobered up, Abigail told Nabal of everything that had happened. 1Samuel 25:37(NLT) informs us, “As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone.” Ten days later, Nabal died.

Contrast Abigail’s heart against Nabal’s heart. It’s very easy to see that one was flexible and able to receive divine inspiration, and the other was like a concrete stone; nothing of love and light flowing in and nothing of love and light flowing out. Nabal’s heart condition, both emotionally and physically, was caused by compounding resentment and bitterness that he allowed to build up. He didn’t have to do this; it was his choice to be hateful and bitter.

As God’s children, we must make a different choice, one that allows God’s love to abide in us and to flow through us. God forgives our sins, and our response to what He has done through Jesus Christ is to freely extend to others what He has so freely given us. Ephesians 4:31-32(NLT) instructs us, “31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” We must be inspired by God’s goodness and treat others with the compassion of Christ. This keeps our hearts tender as we fulfill God’s call to walk in His love. ■

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Keep God’s Love Flowing”, written by JMack,© 2022. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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