Our prosperity may not seem to increase as it should, because our giving is connected to our forgiving. The scripture tells us to deal with anyone who has something against us before we bring our gifts to the altar. Whenever the Holy Spirit reminds us of an offense, we must forgive before we give. It’s not just financial; it’s giving of ourselves, our time, talents and love. To forgive means to let go of a debt that is owed to us; to be forgiven is the cancellation of a debt we owe. What someone owes to us, or what we owe to someone, has to be handled in our hearts.
Sometimes it’s easier for people to forgive others than to forgive themselves. They do things that are harmful to themselves because deep inside they feel they should be punished. They keep trying to pay a debt they think they owe because of a wrongdoing. They also may do all they can to show a family member how sorry they are for what they did that was hurtful to them in the past. They give love, time or talents, not cheerfully because of the love of God in their heart, but to somehow make up for past failures.
The only way to let go of what we think we owe, is by receiving the forgiveness, love and acceptance of God more and more each day. We are givers and forgivers because we are believers. A believer is a receiver. We receive what we don’t deserve. Our sins have been forgiven. By grace we walk, moment by moment. We give because we love. We love because we are so loved by God. We are completely forgiven. We walk in that glorious truth and grace, from glory to glory!
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Because God so loved us that He gave, we so love that we give. God’s love is what we are to give, above all. It is a gift; therefore, it’s given without any expectation of receiving anything in return. God keeps on loving us and we keep on loving, by grace, through faith.
Forgiveness, joy and peace come as we give love. It’s not our human love that we give; it’s the unconditional love of God that has been placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Love is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit, and the one without which none of the others could exist. We recognize we are walking with the Lord by the way we love one another.
It’s not what is given in the natural that has value; it’s the love that is given through a gift. This gift can be a hug, a smile, a scripture or a cookie. The value placed on a gift is the same for all things given: the love that it carries. A hug from a heart of love is worth much more than an expensive gift from obligation. Truly the Lord Himself is a gift that never stops giving, from glory to glory!
1 John 4:11-12 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”
Giving should be a response to love, not in order to be loved. As children of God, we give of our time, money and talents to the Lord in response to Him. It is because of who He is, not in order to get “blessings.” We should not “do” things “to get” something from Him in return.
It is because He first loved us that we love Him. Responding to who He is, what He has done, and abiding in Him causes us to give all we are in return. We do not give to others in response to what they have given us or for what we hope to be given in return. Giving should always be unconditional just like agape love. Appreciation can be shown from the heart without involving a gift of equal cost. A hug from a heart of love is worth much more than an expensive gift from obligation. The value of a gift is the love behind it.
When we give as we purpose in our heart, we are cheerful because giving brings us so much happiness. Our heart is at peace not because of obedience, but because love and grace abound. We look for opportunities to give because we know it is more blessed to give than to receive. It’s the heart of our Heavenly Father. We are blessed to be a blessing, from glory to glory!
2 Corinthians 9:7 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”