Forgiven and Forgiving 4/15/20

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

One of the more difficult qualities of the Christian life to practice is that of forgiveness. It isn’t easy to forgive someone who has wronged us in some way. We may feel disrespected, disappointed, hurt. We may have been treated unjustly. What it really comes down to is that it hurts our pride.

The world says, “Don’t get mad. Get even.” The world tells us we should get revenge, but God tells us we should overcome evil with good. The world says, “Get respect”, but God says to humble ourselves.

God shows us the perfect example of forgiveness in Christ. Having been beaten, scourged, mocked, and nailed to a cross, the innocent Lamb of God prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And this same Christ, when we came to Him with our own sins against Him, sins that deserved eternal punishment, this same Christ gave us not justice but grace and mercy. “Your sins are forgiven.”

That is beyond wonderful, beyond amazing. In the words of the beloved hymn, It Is Well with My Soul, “My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious tho’t: my sin not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!” We rejoice in God’s mercy and grace that our sins are forgiven.

But, this comes with a price. As we have been forgiven, so must we forgive. This forgiveness is not just shrugging our shoulders and saying the words “I forgive you.” We must forgive as we have been forgiven. This means we forgive and must no longer feel resentment. This means we forgive and must give love to the one who sinned against us. This is not an easy task, but this is what flows from the heart of one whom Christ has saved and in whom the Holy Spirit now dwells. This is part of being holy as God is holy.

Jesus says, “Forgive, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you.” And we pray, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ. As you have freely received forgiveness, freely forgive those who have sinned against you. Amen.

Pastor Mike

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