Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The "F" Word

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Matthew 18:21-22

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." Luke 17:3-4

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossi ans 3:12-14

The "F" word that I am talking about is forgiveness. This is the word. It is central to our relationship with God and our relationship with others. It is an easy word to say. It is easy to talk about. However, forgiveness, like we are called to, is not easy to do. But it is necessary.

When we forgive we are freed from the prison that unforgiving places us in. When we forgive others we are set free from the weight of carrying grudges and anger. When we forgive we are living in, and by, the grace that we have received from God.

My computer background has the saying "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you." Not forgiving others imprisons us. The person that is effected and hurt by our not forgiving-- is us. The person imprisoned and oppressed is us.

Thanks be to God that God loves us and forgives us. Thank God that he is a God of second chances, third chances, seventy times seven chances. And God invites us to live lives free of hurt and imprisonment of holding on to the wrongs down against us. God invites us to forgive. To be people of the second, third, forth, and seventy times seven chances. To set ourselves free. To live lives of radical grace. Saved by grace, living by grace, and extending grace.

Forgiveness isn't easy. It will take time. It will take prayer. It will take grace. Let go and let God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

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