This week I came face-to-face with forgiveness: what it means to forgive and what it means to be forgiven.
I don’t know about you, but I have made some stupid mistakes. Recently, out of anger and frustration, I said some things that I shouldn’t have to someone I care about. Words can be dangerous because once they are out there, that's it. Remember Emily's children's story a few weeks ago with the tube of toothpaste ... once the toothpaste was out it couldn't go back in!
The damage is done.
In the moment, I felt completely justified. This person had wronged me and I was hurt. But later, I felt horrible. I couldn’t sleep, I felt uneasy, and so I prayed that God would forgive me. More was required of me, however, and I knew as I read Matthew 6: 9-15 (which was my devotional reading that next morning) what I needed to do. Funny how God works, isn't it?
But that wasn't all! This past Sunday night at the New Members class I shared the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Disciples” and number two on my list was Prayer. We looked at the pattern and the promise made in the prayer that Jesus taught his followers to pray ... "forgive us ... as we forgive others".
Okay, okay I get it!!
So I picked up the phone with sweaty palms, and did what I should have done the moment the words came out of my mouth. I apologized and I asked for forgiveness. The voice on the other end expressed the same feelings and in turn asked forgiveness from me, which I did not expect. Forgive and be forgiven. A relationship has been restored.
So I have a question. When we say the Lord's Prayer do we really know what we are asking? Because what we are asking is huge.
We are asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. But do we? Really? And yet forgiveness of others is so important for our own forgiveness. Take a look at Matthew 6:14-15 again. Is God clear or what?
The truth is that forgiveness is absolutely essential if we
are to build community. Can we truly be in proper communion with God if the
Lord does not forgive our sins? Can we build community at Amberlea or in our family
without forgiving each other? Can we maintain healthy Christian relationships
with an unforgiving spirit?
It is easy to justify our behavior, to harden our hearts, or to even turn a blind eye to the wrong things we do. Jesus, however, taught a radically different approach. Jesus taught about forgiveness.
None of this is to say that it’s easy. The amazing thing is, if we are obedient God takes care of the rest! That's the promise.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Join us this Sunday as we continue our journey through Lent - a time of preparation before Easter. We will take a closer look at how Jesus responded to the disciple who said, " Lord, teach us to pray! "