Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-five:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.(Ephesians 4:32)
You may be asking, “What in the world does forgiving others have to do with 31 days of purity”? It has everything to do with personal purity. Even when you are neck-deep in sin, or even better, deeply engaged in the battle against sin, the bitter roots of unforgiveness can be spreading throughout your heart. God’s Word tells us that the one who is forgiven much must also be so willing and eager to forgive others. It is entirely possible that as you’ve indulged in sexual impurity you have been carrying around a secret bitterness toward the objects of your disordered affections. Or perhaps you’ve been sinned against sexually in the past and the bitterness has grown.
As you have sought forgiveness from God for your sexual sin, have you considered your need to forgive others? Have you forgiven your dad for exposing you to that pornographic magazine when you were only a little boy? What about the bitterness you may feel toward the people who produced the pornography in the first place, or the people who have marketed it so effectively so they’ve tripped you up again and again? While you can and should see them as enemies to the gospel and enemies to personal holiness, Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and to forgive all those who have asked for it. Are you willing to forgive? Are you willing to let go of the bitterness? Will you, who have been forgiven so great a debt, still hold another person’s sin against him?
Father, you have forgiven me of a debt that I could not pay. I have sinned against you more than others have sinned against me, and yet I harbor feelings of bitterness and unforgiveness. Reveal to my heart the places where I have not forgiven others and give me the grace to forgive them if and when they ask. I pray that you would bless those that have done me harm. Restore my bitter heart with a heart of deep forgiveness and appreciation for your grace. Amen.
What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).
Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.