Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Following Jesus...Forgiveness

"In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. " Ephesians 1:7-8

Forgiveness is a hard thing. Sometimes we are afraid that if we forgive, the other person will "get away with" their actions. It's as if forgiveness and justice don't go together. We have an inherent need for justice, and worry that by forgiving, we are over-looking the offense. Add to this the fact that we are hurt, and forgiveness is a hard thing.

Forgiveness is also hard for God. Remember the price that He had to pay to provide it. If we ever wonder if God understands how hard it is to forgive, we simply need to look at the cross, and imagine that pain of a father watching his son being beaten, tortured and crucified. God is just. God is fair. And fairness demanded a payment for sin. The cross is the powerful evidence of God's mercy and justice. If we trust God to handle our sin, and receive His gift of salvation with gratitude, we can also trust Him to handle the sins of others. Are we afraid that He might be as merciful to others as He is to us? His mercy is for everyone or it is for no one. The cross of Christ encompasses the sin of the world. He is dealing with it, He is addressing it. The difference between the way God deals with sin and the way we do is that His ways are always redemptive. That means that the underlying motive behind everything God does is to save people from their sin and to bring them back into a relationship with Him.

When my daughter was small, I spent a lot of time explaining the point of discipline to her. I wanted her to know that I was not punishing her. Punishment is payback. An eye for an eye. Discipline is designed to teach, motivate, and restore. The lines between the two can get blurry, and I needed her to see that my goal was to help her be the kind of child that she wanted to be, and to keep her relationships with her parents and friends intact. Discipline was not about earning forgiveness. Forgiveness was immediate, and in fact I made a point of trying not to deal with her wrongdoings until I had forgiven her. Otherwise, I could easily slip into punishment-mode, and I didn't want that. Discipline encompassed the entire process of setting boundaries, implementing consequences at broken boundaries, discussion and teaching, and always, reconciliation. It was redemptive discipline, designed to create and guard relationships.

I believe God works like this too. In fact, I learned it from God. He's the Master Parent. God never asks more from us than He is willing to give Himself. He blows the boundaries of giving sky-high. And then some.


Sandy said...

Oh my, a reminder straight to me!! I know you people who teach the Word do not point fingers!! it must be the Lord!! :D love you my friend! xox

Kelly said...

I love you, too, dear friend...muchly!!!!!!

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