What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is something we are not very good at, but is merely the flip side of the coin where love is stored.  There has never been or ever will be an individual created by God that doesn’t at one time or another need forgiveness.  It is because of sin, one of which is unforgiveness, that the Son of God was crucified on the cross.  He chose to take upon Himself the suffering sin would bring into our world in order that we might understand and make the choice of forgiveness while also showing us the value of loving, truly loving, our neighbor as ourself.  We have traveled many roads through many years while still never quite grasping the seriousness of not forgiving one another.  Can you imagine what our world might be like today if only we had fully received this life lesson?  Have you ever wished you might live in utopia?

I don’t have a clue as to what percentage of the world’s population actually understands forgiveness, but I do know that we receive our learning from actually seeing the effects of whatever wisdom we possess in action.  I also know that many people know things in their hearts that never get put into action in their lives.  We let so many things discourage and upset our lives without realizing that we also bear the consequences of ignoring our actions.  I know most of us would prefer not to claim unforgiveness, but I doubt there is anyone who can honestly say they have nothing to forgive another human being for saying or doing.  We usually just bury those things and go on with life.

Just maybe the timing is right for us to seriously consider the things we might be asked to defend when we come before our Lord.  The Word that He left for our instruction says forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Most of us seriously want to be forgiven for our debts, but I am not at all sure that we realize that our debts will only be forgiven as we forgive.

Paul had to totally give up his former way of life and he tells us do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God….be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:30, 32).  And again, in the book of Colossians – as the elect of God…put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do (3:12-13).

We don’t often spend time considering who or what we need to forgive; it is all too easy to simply walk away and maybe by tomorrow it will be forgotten or not matter anymore.  But the way we live from day to day is not forgotten by our Lord; He will at one time not only ask but require that we answer how we have dealt with the problem of forgiveness.  Can we afford to put off forgiveness?

Peter tells us that we should gird up the loins of your mind (1 Peter 1:13), as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance (14).  And Paul reminds us that Jesus himself being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).  That tells us specifically that obedience is not only important, but necessary to the Father who created us.  It doesn’t matter what kind of excuse you may find to offer, the Father who created us intends for us to fulfill His expectations in our behavior while living and witnessing to who and what we were created to be – His children, made in His image and obedient to the Father who created us.  He is more than willing to give us another chance; have we the desire to please Him and be the children He created us to be?

Saviour, teach me day by day, Love’s sweet lesson to obey;
Sweeter lesson cannot be, Loving Him who first loved me.

 

Kevin Harrison

WCBCS, 7459 S IH 35, Waco, TX, USA