As we come to the final run of yet another month, I pray that each of you end it with a clear conscience and a grateful heart.
I came across something a pastor friend wrote some time back. It serves as a very good reminder of just how easily we can get off track in our lives.
When we receive forgiveness, it’s like a breath of fresh air. You can breathe again and it feels really good. What about when we need to turn that scenario around and give forgiveness? That may be a little more difficult.
I have heard someone say “I will never forgive them for what they did!” And each day, the anger and the bitterness grows. The irony is that when we can’t forgive, it doesn’t affect the unforgiven nearly as much as it affects the one who can’t offer that forgiveness. It’s like a cancer that soon will consume your life.
All blame is focused on the other party. We really want to gain peace by seeing them hurt the way that we do. You know what though? That just isn’t the way it works. No matter what happens, our peace can only come from within and for that to truly happen we need to acknowledge the forgiveness that has been given to us so freely through Jesus Christ. That is where our true peace comes from. It’s like a warm blanket on a cold night. He wraps His arms around us and we feel safe and secure in His love. That’s the peace I love.
Forgiveness by Dan Sites
Forgiveness is a two-edged sword. When it is received, it can bring much relief and joy to our lives. When it needs to be given freely to someone else forgiveness can be difficult to offer.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven [could possibly be translated as seventy times seven”] times.’” (Matthew 18:21–22 NIV)
Peter thought he was being very generous. After all, forgiving someone seven times can try one’s patience and get on one’s nerve. Let’s see; let me get out my ledger and look to see which number I’m on. And when I get to number seven, I’ll finally be able to proudly say to God that I did what was required and now I can really get tough and not have to worry about that rascal any more.
Jesus had another lesson in mind. Seventy-seven times? That’s too extreme, Jesus! I might forget as I try to keep track. Or seventy times seven? Oh, come on Jesus! No one can keep track of forgiving the same person that many times!
But then I’m forced to look in the mirror. How many times have I confessed my sins to Jesus and asked for forgiveness? Often, it’s for the same sin that I have not been able to completely eradicate, even with the help of God’s Spirit in my life. Over and over again I have to admit my failures and sins. Seven times? I surpassed that number a long time ago! I’ve probably even blown right past the seventy-seven times. It might even be that I’ve had to ask close to seventy times seven!
“Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all my sin.” These are the wonderful words of a grand old hymn (Grace Greater Than Our Sin). Powerful words! Comforting words. Assuring words.
Father, thank You for your continuous grace and mercy. Help me to be as forgiving and full of mercy and grace as You. Help me to lose track of how many times I forgive others just as I have lost count of how many times You have forgiven me.