Monday, April 4, 2022

            Forgiveness is a big word in the Christian life. And it is a good one.  God offers us forgiveness for our sins committed against Him and others.  We believe that Jesus died to pay the price for our sins so that in and through Him we can be forgiven and enjoy a new life.  The Bible teaches us to be quick to ask for forgiveness from others and to grant forgiveness to those who ask us just as quickly.  Jesus told a brief story about forgiveness that teaches us the importance of forgiving others today.  Our Lord said, “‘Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’  Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’  ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said” (Luke 7:51-53).
            The man with the larger debt represents us.  We have a huge debt that we owe to God because of our sins.  This debt is incalculably large.  Frankly, we deserve both death and judgment for how we have lived.  We have not earned salvation and possess no special access to it because of our ancestry or heritage.  But God (and how great are those two words...but God) freely forgives us because His Son covered the cost and debt of our sinfulness.  Therefore, Jesus’ point was, we should be quick to forgive others and quick to ask others to forgive us.  The sins and guilt God forgave in us and for us far outweigh and outsize the offenses that others may have committed against us. The comparison is miniscule at best.  We have a far greater debt before God than others have accumulated against us. 
            How do we become better at exercising forgiveness?  Let me suggest some possibilities that you might find helpful.  First, remember that God has forgiven you.  We cannot repay God and He does not ask us for that.  But we can pay it forward.  And we express our thanks for and understanding of God’s forgiveness whenever we are willing to extend forgiveness to others.  We can wake up each morning and celebrate that God has forgiven us. 
            Second, ask God for help.  If forgiveness is hard for you, take it to the Lord.  Pray about it.  Ask for Him to help you.  Be patient with yourself.  Important life and faith lessons are not always easy to learn or quickly learned.  But we can learn them.  Do not give up or get down on yourself.  Pray faithfully for the grace you need to learn how to forgive others.  It might be helpful to imagine what a conversation like that looks like in your mind before you ever have it.  You could also write your forgiveness in a journal to see how it reads. 
            Third, let go of any grudges or hard feelings you have toward others.  Holding on to bitterness does not help anyone.  Resentment poisons anyone and everyone that it infects.  Think about the way you speak.  If you are speaking harshly or critically of others that can become a habit.  You do not want to become “that person” whom everyone dreads to see coming because your speech is full of accusations and complaints.  Work to flush those feelings from your life.
            Forgiveness is liberating.  In Psalm 51, David suggested that forgiveness can create a pure heart and a steadfast spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).  Forgiveness, whether you receive it or give it, is a blessing.  We are finally released from weights and anchors that have weighed us down for far too long.  Forgiveness can return peace and joy to our hearts and minds.  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can share our worship with others anytime at    
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