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Forgiveness

October 8, 2012

“Then came Peter to him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven’.” – Matt. 18:21-22

 

In his Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope wrote, “To err is human; to forgive is divine”. Why? Why is it all too easy to err – to fail, to fall, and to sin – and yet, still be so difficult to forgive? After all, since we all know how easy it is to mess up and to do wrong, why do we have such a hard time forgiving others when we perceive them as doing wrong themselves? Part of it, I believe, is just plain bitter self-loathing: we see ourselves in the flaws of another and we tend to hold it against them. But the main reason, I think, is that its one of the enemy’s top priorities to manipulate us into withholding our forgiveness, which we often allow him to do; see, there’s nothing he can do to stop God’s forgiveness, which is given freely and unto all…but he sure can trick us into holding it back if we let him.

 

Because to forgive is divine: it is one of the most powerful forms of Christian love, and one of the most effective means of healing broken hearts and torn spirits; in fact, I’ve come to believe that forgiveness does far more for the one giving than receiving it. Still, it is so hard to do; and trust me, no one knows this better than me: I struggle every day to forgive those I feel have hurt me and/or those I love. Because saying ‘I forgive them’ and actually forgiving them in your heart is two very different things: honestly, there are some people I’ve had to forgive with my mouth a thousand times before my heart started getting in on the whole process…just like there are people that my heart still needs convincing on, as well. But hey, to err is human.

 

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matt. 6:14)….because there is an even better reason to forgive than the damage that unforgiveness does to you: if you expect to receive it, you’d better give it. Christians, especially, should understand this: I mean, after all, those who have been born again in Christ know what it is to feel His grace and His mercy holding you up and putting the broken pieces of your life back together. That is the power of healing that forgiveness can give…that is why to forgive is divine. It is that portion of God’s power in which we can partake, and its the greatest characteristic we can share with our Lord and Savior – for if we would be His brethren, then we must share in His will…and His will is to forgive. “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve needed an awful lot of forgiveness in my life: and glory to God, I’ve received it.  Like the servant in Matthew 18, if I cannot forgive those who owe me a hundred pence – a paltry sum – while my Lord has forgiven me a fortune, then I shall be made to pay. Because that’s what it comes down to, people: we’re in the plus column when it comes to forgiveness – we have a surplus and have plenty to spare. And if you’re like me, you’ve no doubt at one time thought to yourself, “some people don’t deserve forgiveness; some people aren’t worthy of grace.” And you’d be absolutely right: some people aren’t. Just like the crowd shouting for Christ’s crucifixion didn’t deserve His pity as He hung upon that Cross looking down on His tormentors; and yet, almost His last words beseeched the Father to forgiven them, anyways.

 

We are not worthy or deserving of the blood shed upon that Cross: and yet, it was shed and given freely regardless. We are not worthy of having all our stains washed away, or our sins cast into a sea of forgetfulness…and yet, they are cast there all the same. So, as difficult as it can sometimes be, let us remember to celebrate His forgiveness – His mercy and His grace – by showing the world our own: regardless of worth, regardless of difficulty; regardless of our own pain and sacrifice, let us instead honor His. For, to share His righteousness we must also share His love, His grace, and His mercy.

 

And in so doing, we assure our place in His kingdom, praising Him “in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Eph. 1:7)

 

Be blessed,

Joshua

 

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  1. Forgiveness and Mental Health – Believer's Brain

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