**Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. ** Luke 17:21
Forgiveness is a tough topic to discuss because it can make us emotional pretty quickly. Our emotions are usually what hinder our ability to allow someone back into our lives. Anger, frustration, the need to lash out at the one who has offended us can keep us imprisoned in a cycle of emotional bondage for years.
So, how do we get past all of those emotions?
By choosing truth over our emotional state.
Today’s passage is Jesus Christ’s answer to the Pharisees question concerning when they would see the kingdom of God. They were hoping for a physical kingdom that would vanquish Roman rule and free them to live a life of religious and personal liberty. Jesus’ answer caught them off guard…..
**The kingdom of God is within you.**
The Pharisees wanted power, perfection, and purity for themselves and for their people. But they desired it through force, warfare, and superiority.
Jesus’ statement left them confused and frustrated, because Jesus reminded them that his Word was not to be used as a merciless judgment but as a bridge builder. It was supposed to be used to bring healing, unity and life to others. It was not supposed to be used to demonstrate superiority, intelligence or moral advantage.
**The kingdom of God is within you…**
It is one of the most powerful statements that Jesus ever spoke. The kingdom of God is already here. The kingdom of God resides in the heart and soul of each of his children.
The kingdom of God gives us the power and strength and compassion to overcome our emotions and forgive others in a similar way that Christ has forgiven us. Not because it is easy. Not because we feel like it. But because it is divine. It is of God to forgive. And God lives within us.
Each day we get to make a choice. Forgive because we are commanded to, and it is of God to forgive, or hold a grudge or lash out or be bitter against those who offend us. We can CHOOSE to forgive even if our emotions are not yet lined up with the truth.
Almost every time, our emotions will take us down the wrong path in our hearts and in our minds. But the truth of God’s Words can get us back on track when we yield to them and put them into motion.
With time, our emotions will be in line with the Truth. God’s divinity within us will transform our hearts and our emotions when we choose to accept the higher calling of his Word. Our faith should be active, consistently applying it to everyday situations.
After all, when Jesus was on the cross He had plenty of reasons to hate, revile, and lash out at those who had harmed him. But his answer to it all was….**Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.** …
He kept his emotions in check, his pain was pushed back behind his heart, and He forgave all of us for all that we have done that put him there on that cross.
He is our example and now, He lives within us. We can honor him by forgiving others as completely as He forgave us.