by Tim Howard
On July 8 I will begin a short series at Koinonia Church titled: The Bottom Line! Those who consider Koinonia their church home know that Loving God and Loving People is our bottom line. We call it a Passion for God and Compassion for people.
In thinking about my love for God and people – It’s been a long learning process! Understanding how to love God and people ‘His Way’ has taken decades. I am a slow learner! For example it took me years to discover that people often need the most love when they deserve it the least.
I learned a lot about loving God and people from my wife!
In the early years of my marriage, I did a lot of foolish things and wasn’t a very good husband. I could blame it on youthfulness since I was only 22 years old, immaturity, stress, difficult times or I could simply acknowledge the truth. I was self-absorbed. Life was all about me! In 45 years of marriage, we have had our share of bad times! The word divorce has crossed our minds but one word has proven to be more powerful than the desire to go our separate ways. That word is FORGIVENESS and I’m convinced this is the ultimate proof of love!
The Bible tells us to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God forgave us thru Christ.” Forgiveness reveals God’s love and lays the foundation for everything God does. Jesus offers forgiveness to those who choose to follow Him. He offers forgiveness to those who fail and choose to do unwise things and He even offers forgiveness to the ones who hate Him. That’s love!
You cannot have a long-lasting, growing, ongoing, in-depth, healthy relationship without forgiveness! Something will happen, your relationship with stall, someone will do something unintentionally or intentionally and if there is no forgiveness – The relationship ends.
Un-forgiveness locks a person into the past and provides a great environment for bitterness, resentment, hatred, and anger to flourish but forgiveness cuts the cords to the past and gives you the possibility of a bright future. It’s one of the top five tools you need in your toolbox in order to maintain a growing relationship. Acceptance, Respect, Trust, and Truth are the other four.
Forgiveness is definitely not the easiest choice to make but it is the best! Holding a grudge, getting even, remaining bitter and choosing to walk in resentment may feel good but it will ultimately destroy you.
God’s Bottom Line is revealed in the words of Jesus found in Mark 12.
Love God with everything you have and Love your neighbor as yourself. Simplified: Love God – Love people!
Yes, It’s taken me years to grow the type of love God desires and it’s still in process. I have so much more to learn but thanks to God who forgives me, my wife who is patient with me and the people who are committed to helping me, I’m making progress!
The Bottom Line is: If we want to love God and people ‘His Way’ we must learn to forgive.