No "Buts" About It

I could find a few good reasons not to do it if it weren't for that last phrase. After all, there are some people who just aren't lovable and others who don't deserve to be forgiven.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other…" —Ephesians 4:32.

You can almost hear the "buts" rising from cheap seats.

"But you don't know my boss, my wife, my husband, my relatives, my next-door-neighbour, my…"

"But surely Paul didn't mean everyone all the time?"

"But we're talking Paul here—I'm not Paul."

"But that's only if they are compassionate and forgiving first, right?"

It's that final phrase that robs me of all my excuses for not being compassionate and forgiving.

"…just as in Christ God forgave you."

He showed me compassion and forgave me while I was his worst enemy.

He shows me compassion and forgiveness everywhere, anytime, under all circumstances.

If he tells me I can model him, he must be serious because God can't lie. I'm just me, but "me" inhabited by the Holy Spirit who will give me strength to do all things just as Philippians 4:13 says.

Nowhere does it say that my compassion and forgiveness need to be reciprocated, or that the other person makes the first move. God didn't wait for me to find him. He came after me with compassion and love held to the cross by nails and thorns.

It's not easy for me to be loving to those who are not lovable. It takes a lot for me to forgive when someone does the unforgivable. And here I am permitted a "but…"

But God did it, and there are no "buts" about that.

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