Charity, caritas, agape, love. They’re all meant to signify the same thing, and in their essence their all derived from the same source. I’m not talking etymologically but practically. Charity, caritas, agape, love. They are all rooted in God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is because God loves us that we know how to love, and among our greatest experiences of God’s love is found in His forgiveness. God forgives any who repent and ask for that forgiveness. He does it over and over again! As men and women who have been forgiven, we must learn to forgive. It is simply an expression of love.
Something that has been on my mind lately is Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” I’m the kind of person who has an unfortunate tendency of taking things too personally. If someone doesn’t like my ideas, then I take it to mean that they are insulting me, that they are rejecting me as a person. It makes forgiveness a lot harder. But this verse has helped me remember the truth. Other people are not my enemy, the evil one is my enemy. In this world, I should never really fight my brothers and sisters. Human discord is honestly just a distraction. When the devil keeps us mad at each other, we’ll be too busy to watch out for him. When the devil reminds us our neighbor’s faults, our eyes will be fixed on theirs and not on our own.
So forgive your brothers and sisters for being weak, just like you. Remember that if their eyes were opened to the truth of spiritual warfare, then they would weep at the pain in the world. And remember to mind the plank in your own eye. You, too, are a weak creature, prone to sin and temptation, and in need of a savior. And pray for the world. Pray for your “enemies.” Pray for the politicians you don’t agree with, that the Lord would open their eyes. Be generous with the grace you give and the forgiveness you offer.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization