Freedom To Forgive

Great Power Displayed

In this season there is so much said about the Cross of Jesus. Its significance is great, because it is the turning point in God’s Creation story. What an inexhaustible topic, its meaning is so deep and wide! And as we look further into the Resurrection, we see the greatest plot twist when the meek Son of Man makes His power known. He submitted to this Divine Redemption Story when He become flesh and blood like us. He then wielded His power, resurrecting Himself, to provide us the opportunity to be made right with God. Now we can repent to a God who hears and forgives us. This forgiveness is not just for us but for us to offer to others. But oftentimes before we can begin extending forgiveness to others, we must define and deal with what is “right” and what is “wrong”.

Right Is Right And Wrong Is Wrong

The reason we can say we believe right to be right and wrong to be wrong is because God has established moral law in the heart of humanity. And when we can say something is right or wrong, that speaks of an intelligent Creator who allows us to know something greater exists: truth. Truth is rooted in the idea that there has to be a standard.  And as Christians, we are called to be God’s standard-bearers to the world around us. Where can we see this play out more than when we as Christians forgive when we are wronged?

The reason we can say we believe right to be right and wrong to be wrong is because God has established moral law in the heart of humanity. 

Words Break More Than Bones

As a child growing up people would say, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”.  What a lie!  I believed that then and I believe it now.  Our words do hurt others and we are told repeatedly in the bible to be careful of the words we speak (see Proverbs 11:9 and James 3:5).  But we don’t listen or follow these warnings.  We hurt people close to us and we are hurt as well.  We are even hurt by those we don’t know personally. This pain can go so deep that we can physically feel it. And when faced with this mountain of pain and grief we can find it hard or even impossible to forgive, the extent of which can seem immeasurable.  I’ve been there.  I’ve been hurt so deeply following something painful, I felt I couldn’t breathe. I’ve been sick with anger.  I remember walking around almost in a daze because I sensed a new hollowness inside from what I identified was taken away from me.  And these feelings were not tied to a one-time pain.  There were several pains that brought about these levels of agony for me. It wasn’t something I just shook myself out of; I needed something much deeper to reach my internal wounds. But I found my grief began to lift when studying the implications of the Resurrection of Jesus. 

This forgiveness does not originate from us but from the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. 

Freed To Forgive

I was reminded when hearing about Jesus’ Resurrection power that one event in history changed the trajectory for all mankind.  The Cross was a place of judgment and death and Jesus bore that not only symbolically but literally.  With judgment and death comes great pain, shame, and grief.  Again, he bore all of it. But his Resurrection displayed His power to overcome that same judgment and death on our behalf, which opened the door for us to repent and be forgiven.  That forgiveness was not meant for me only but now for me to extend to others.  When we’ve been wronged or treated spitefully, we can forgive. When we’ve been lied about or talked about, we can forgive. When someone has acted with disregard for us, we can forgive.  When we have been mistreated, or left alone, we can forgive. This forgiveness does not originate from us but from the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.  We forgive because we’ve been forgiven.  And to not forgive others is to say their sin or fault is greater than our own…which we commit daily. But also when we forgive, that does not mean what was wrong is now right but frees us to live beyond the weight of unforgiveness.

In this season of GREAT forgiveness by the only ONE who could provide this redemption to us, I encourage you to follow the instructions of Jesus to forgive. In Matthew 6:14-15 he said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”. This is just the beginning, for this road toward forgiveness will last us a lifetime. Let us not be weighed down but freed to live in the forgiveness God has granted us through the work of our Savior and then freely offer that forgiveness to others. Be blessed!

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