Very often, children take on the traits of their fathers. My dad passed away 25 years ago, but to this day my wife will say, “you looked just like your dad when you said that!” But I suppose the highest compliment someone could give would be, “you were just like your Heavenly Father when you said (or did) that.”
The Apostle Paul connects our call to be forgiving people as showing a family resemblance to the Father above. He writes to the Ephesians, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). It’s not always easy to be kind, tenderhearted, or forgiving to those who done wrong against us. But that’s what God has done.
We must forgive others because our Father is kind and tenderhearted and has forgiven us. He forgives all who become His children through faith in Christ’s perfect death and resurrection. And as God’s children, what should we be like? Our Bibles show a new chapter starts with Ephesians 5:1, but it really follows what Paul was saying about God’s forgiveness at the end of chapter 4. So let’s read it without stopping: “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
Perhaps the best way we can imitate God our Father as His children is to forgive. I feel so honored when someone says I remind them of my dad. How much greater is the honor to act in a way that reminds someone of our Father in heaven!
We will have many opportunities to remind the world what God is like as we grant forgiveness to others. Forgiveness is not always easy, but we will give it. Forgiving others allows us to be much like our Heavenly Father.