Wednesday, April 08, 2009

When I Forgive

One of the great truths of the Christian faith is that I am forgiven. This is a great truth, because there is much for which I need to be forgiven. I lose my temper sometimes and say things I shouldn't. I don't always selfish at times and don't give my wife the help she needs. I can be prideful and arrogant. And on and on the list could go. As I said, I need to be forgiven.
The Bible tells me in 1 John 1:9- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." So, the requirement for forgiveness is honest confession. This is made possible because of Jesus' death on the cross; His sacrifice in our place. Jesus took our punishment so that we could be forgiven.
This is all good, except for the fact that while God forgives me, I am not always good at forgiving others. Actually, I am better at judging others than forgiving them. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-3, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" It is interesting that someone else could do something wrong, not big, but enough that I notice, and yet I do something wrong and completely ignore it. Their wrong is like a speck of dust; my wrong is like a Tamarack tree. But I don't see mine!!
Matthew 6:15 is another of Jesus' challenging statements; He says: "But if you do not fogive men thier sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." I need to forgive others, because when I forgive, I learn how to be forgiven. When I forgive, I learn how to free myself from guilt. When I forgive, I am able to let go of that which causes me pain. When I forgive I am able to understand God more fully.
When I forgive others, it is sometimes as much or more for me than for them. Sometimes people don't deserve to be forgiven. They are not sorry for their actions, or don't seek to change their behavior. In these cases the forgiveness is to free me from their control over me. I can let go of any negative feelings I possess, and focus on what I need to do to heal.
During this Easter season, I remember what Jesus has done for me; going to the cross to die for my sins. Because of this I am forgiven. As I seek to walk in Jesus' steps, I need to learn how to forgive. How about you?