Some who call themselves Christians merely have physical knowledge (they know what the Bible says), while others are converted (they practice what they know). The chief goal for true Christians is to go through the learning years of this life and overcome the world—to undergo real conversion. And along the way, many have faced—and will face—charges, betrayals and hurt. When you face hardship, do you remember that others have had similar experiences—if not worse? Learning to forgive is part of Christian training—and in order for that training to really “sink in,” it must sometimes be done on the battlefield while facing the enemy.
When threatened, people generally prefer to stay in their “comfort zone”—a protected area where they can defend themselves from hurt or betrayal, or being taken advantage of in any other way. But, when God calls people, He asks them to take their defenses down. They are asked to forgive and learn to turn the other cheek, and this is hard to do. Human nature is to cling to offenses—to hold grudges, and to seek to get even. But the Bible warns that this approach ends in bitterness and death, and can even defile and rob true Christians of their salvation (Ephesians 4:31; Hebrews 12:15).
God’s way transcends these carnal attitudes by redefining the rules we live by, and promoting selfless love and loyalty. Love and loyalty are words that have a lot in common. Being faithful is being loyal and loving is also being faithful. Through the degeneration of our society the word “love” now is now commonly confused with physical attraction, sexual desire, and even perverse and obsessive lusts. However, Christian loyalty and love rise above these things. In 1 Corinthians 13, we find what is called the love chapter. The chapter ends with verse 13, “And abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” We learn a lot when we read and analyze the chapter. A love is described in verses 4-8 that is truly hard to find, a selfless love that “never fails” and is totally outward, asking nothing in return.
This is a kind of love that requires forgiveness, even when another person says or thinks “I can’t stand you,” or even hates and considers you their enemy. God showed this love showed in full measure when He sent His Son to die for a world that hated Him (John 3:16).
Have you found the strength to forgive those who abandoned a post in this life? Is it high time for you to return to any you have abandoned? It could make all the difference between bitterness and defeat, or being offered a permanent, eternal post in God’s Kingdom. Read our powerful booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? and watch our Tomorrow’s World telecast “Christ Will Return Soon!”—they will help you learn more about God’s love and loyalty, and the reward He is preparing for those who are loyal to Him.