Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I was thinking about forgiveness this morning.  The word says, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).  Ouch! Especially to that last part!  It is one thing to tell people to forgive others.  At best sometimes we just push whatever it was that they did to us to the side and forget about it until we need to bring it back up again.  Other times we simply "overlook" their offense and don't let it "get to us".  But is this really forgiveness?  The condition on this verse is "forgive AS the Lord forgave you."  This makes all of at some point ask "how do we do that?  After all, He is God - forgiveness comes easy to Him."  Really?  I seem to remember that forgiveness cost Him His life.  That doesn't sound easy at all.

We must forgive as Christians.  It is a central and necessary element of the Christian life. What makes forgiveness so hard sometimes?  I think we presuppose unnecessary requirements on people all too often.  We tend to feel like those who have offended us need to repent or express remorse before we can forgive them.  If they don't admit it, then I don't need to forgive.  Or what that did was so bad and unjust that it needs expression of guilt before I can act on it and forgive them.  NOT TRUE!!!

While it sounds like a good trade off and even a fair way to deal with offense/forgiveness it is not how Jesus did it.  Forgiveness does not start with the other person - it starts with you.  Scripture like "while they were sinners, Christ died for them" (Romans 5:8) sticks out.  Forgiveness is not about what they do to earn it.  It is about how you respond to the Gospel.  Forgiveness is about knowing and expressing that Jesus' cross was sufficient in paying for sin.  They don't owe you payment for their sin before you forgive them.  Jesus already paid for their sin.  Remember all you did?  Would you like to pay for that before you are forgiven?  Jesus died to forgive sin.  When we don't forgive and hold it over their heads till they ask or repent we set up another system of forgiveness.  Remember that Jesus loves and died for the very person who hurt you.  He loves them just as much as He loves you.

People do not have to repent to you for you to forgive them.  After all, who did you die for?  When you come face to face with the reality that you would hardly die for any one's forgiveness then you realize that only Christ's obedience to the cross sufficiently deals with sin.  Unforgiveness holds you in bondage.  What they did to you has been taken care of at the cross by Jesus' blood.  Why are you carrying it around and letting it weigh you down?  Why not leave it at the cross and be set free?
When you relive that thing they did to you over and over and over and over and over and over (you get the point) it only makes things worse.  When you withhold forgiveness you only hurt yourself.  Ever seen a kid who holds his breath because he is mad?  That is what you and I look like when we choose not to forgive.  We withhold "air" only to "prove our point".  It looks silly on a kid but even more ridiculous on a believing adult!  Choose to forgive like Christ - unconditionally, repeatedly, and immediately.  Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!  Read the following verses and never forget what you have been forgiven from.

  • "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins." - 2 Peter 1:5-9 
  • "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs." - Proverbs 10:12
  • "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

No comments:

Post a Comment