REFLECTION: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
What is forgiveness? Jesus’ statement about one of the
This is difficult to do! Watch yourselves—that is we need to guard against causing others to sin. But on the other hand, we need to resist the temptation to keep those who have sinned against us in an emotional penalty box making them serve endless time for their offenses. We need Jesus help to be forgiving to the extent Jesus’ asks. The disciples realized this and asked, “Increase our faith!”
But how do we really forgive another person? Jesus says, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them”. Who is our brother and sister? Those with whom we have a relationship and this reminds us that the primary place forgiveness needs to be expressed is in the community of faith. People we know within the church- Christians, we need to forgive each other.
Jesus was also specific—about sin- requiring forgiveness. Just because someone irritates, annoys or upsets us they do not involve forgiveness they require endurance and maybe even tolerance. Forgiveness is only necessary if sin occurs, that is when God’s standards of behaviour have been violated.
But we cannot forgive right away. Sometimes what occurs is not required but may be excused instead. Forgiveness is about those things which are inexcusable, not ignoring or denying sin but still responding to it.
C.S. Lewis said, “Real Forgiveness means steadily looking at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse after all allowances have been made and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice.” That is, seeing the sin for what it really is. When God forgets our sins, He no longer holds them against us. The central issue is not that we forget, but what we do when we remember that someone has wronged us.
What does forgiving another person mean to you? How do you go about doing this?
How does knowing that God forgets our sins help you or hinder you in understanding forgiveness or being forgiven?
PRAYER: Holy God as we learn what it means to forgive help us to take the risks, to understand your love and to know again that we need to forgive because of your Son Jesus, forgiving us and calling us to him. Enable us O God to forgive and to love again. Amen.
Resource: Gary Inrig, “The Risk of Forgiveness :What it means to forgive” Discovery Series, ODB Ministries. p. 11-12