Sunday, February 07, 2010

Quiet time files 011810

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
Matt 18:35 (ESV)

While I hate to admit it, being half Sicilian means holding a grudge runs in my blood. Arguments on my mom's side of the family are peppered with allusions to events and hurts decades old. We just can't let it go.

But as a Christian, I'm called to do that very thing. Here are a few thoughts on forgiveness, as we view it, and what Scripture says.

Forgiveness is not dependent on the worthiness of the one being forgiven.

It's a good thing God didn't wait for us to be worthy of His forgiveness; He would still be waiting. We cannot work our way into heaven. Nothing we can do on our own can ever measure up to God's standards. So He reached out to us, sinners that we are:

...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)

Offering forgiveness is not dependent on whether or not the transgressor will accept it.

When we offer someone our forgiveness, we expect to hear, "Thank you, I'm sorry I hurt you," in response. But there are some people who will look at you and laugh, feeling no need to be forgiven.

God offers salvation to all, free of charge. But it's clear that not all will accept it. John's gospel puts it this way:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God...
John 1:12 (ESV)

Note the "to all who did receive him"; the implication is that some did not. God didn't withhold the offer simply because He knew some would not accept it; neither should we withhold our forgiveness.

Forgetting should go hand in hand with forgiving.

This may be the hardest thing of all. My family may say they forgive one another, but memories are very, very long.

God doesn't remember our sins once they are forgiven. The Psalmist says: far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Psalms 103:12 (ESV)

I love this image, as it is the original "you can't get there from here". No matter how far east you travel, you will never reach west, and vice versa. Our sins are so far removed they cannot be found, cannot even be remembered by God. We need to make the effort to not only forgive, but to forget the transgression and restore the relationship.

No comments: