Continuing in our Keeping it Short and Simple series, today Walter discussed forgiveness.
This is a tough topic to discuss because it tends to bring up a lot of emotions in people. We start thinking about people who have wronged us, and people whom we have wronged. It’s something we all know we need. Either, we need to forgive, or we need to be forgiven.
I’m not even going to try to go into the depths of forgiveness that Walter taught today. So, let’s see if I can keep this simple.
Last week we learned, or were reminded of, God’s love. He is our creator. He desperately wants a relationship with us. And, he was willing to come down to this planet as a human and die for us so that we could have a relationship with him. In his death, and resurrection, we were forgiven for all our sins; those we have committed, those sins that are in our life right now, and those sins that we haven’t even conceived of yet. When we accept God into our hearts; when we give our lives over to Him, he wipes us clean…forever. We no longer have to be held captive by the lies that Satan has convinced us are true; the things that separate us from our Father.
Walter used the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) to illustrate the power, and the necessity, of forgiveness. In our creator we find our Lord, who will always take us in his arms and forgive us of our wrongs regardless of the severity of those wrongs. When we have accepted his forgiveness, then he can begin the process of re-molding us into his image. We become more like him. We move closer to perfection. We still have faults. We still must rely on him. But, with enough faith, and the power of our Lord, we can overcome the things in our lives that have held us back, held us down, and robbed us of true freedom, and real joy.
Then, somehow, some way, at some point, we learn how to forgive others for their sins against us. This doesn’t mean that we forget what they have done. This doesn’t mean that we excuse what they have done. But it does mean that we will agree to enter into a new relationship with them. Just as we, as believers, are reborn when we accept Christ in our lives, we can also renew our relationships with those that have wronged us, and those that we have wronged.
It’s a hard concept to understand, and an even harder one to put into practice. But God has shown us the ultimate example of forgiveness, and in our call to love him, and love our neighbors, we must follow that example and not allow the adversary to continue to break down and destroy relationships.
Have you been forgiven? Are you forgiving?