“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” – Job 8:21

Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

Radical Grace

I watched from my seat near the back of the classroom as students straggled into class one by one. Some carried remainders of their lunches that they hadn’t been able to finish in the fifteen minute gap between class periods. As the students took their seats, they immediately unzipped their backpacks to find their reading notes. Everyone was getting some last-minute studying in before the big quiz.

After a little while, the professor strolled cheerfully into the classroom. “Did you all have a good weekend?” he asked sincerely while readying his PowerPoint slides. A few heads nodded politely in the midst of their cramming session. “I decided to make a change on the quiz today.” That got our attention. “We have a lot of material to cover from the lesson, so I went ahead and gave you all 100% on the quiz. That way I have more time to teach.”

It took a moment for us to believe what we were hearing. As the news sunk in, students began to cheer and clap. Relief permeated the atmosphere with new perspective.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you? Colossians 2:14 reveals another area where we have received greater mercy than just being released from a quiz. Colossians says that God freed us “…by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

This news should awake thankful joy in our hearts that far exceeds the clapping and cheers in my class! It is unimaginable mercy that God showed in punishing his own son for our sins instead of letting us bear his wrath. As if this wasn’t enough, God also credits us with Jesus’ perfect life. We were not only pardoned from taking the test, but were given a 100% that we never would have been able to earn on our own!

This is radical love. And it is something that we can imitate every day in our relationships with other people. Is there anyone who you have been reluctant to forgive because the debt that they owe you is just so huge?  Maybe it is one of your parents, or a stepparent, or someone you think should have intervened in your parents’ decision. Imitate God’s mercy by releasing them from that debt. Love them anyway.

When have you been blessed by someone’s grace in your life?

Forgiveness

     I can honestly say that one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to forgive my dad for leaving me.  In fact, it took me almost ten years.  Ever since I was a little girl I knew that I should forgive him. After all, Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven, right?  But every time I tried I just couldn’t do it.  I realize now that it was because I was trying to forgive out of my own strength and not God’s. 

    I am still not really sure how it happened.  I will always remember one day while we were driving the forty-five minute car-ride to my dad’s house and I looked over at him from my place in the passenger seat.  I suddenly felt so sorry for him while God whispered to me that he is the one caught in sin, living out the consequences of the decisions he made ten years ago.  I am so thankful that I have the privilege of having a close relationship with my Savior and Friend, but that is something which my dad doesn’t have.  As far as I know, he has fallen away from the only One who could save him from the hole he has dug for himself.  All my anger was lost in sorrow for him. 

     One of the hardest things you will have to do is to forgive the person who hurt you.  It’s unnatural according to the world.  I think one of the reasons it is hard is because when you forgive someone, you are giving up your anger and allowing sorrow to come in.  Our instinct as humans is to strike back when we get hurt.  Forgiveness is giving up your defenses against hurt. 

     Let me just make one thing clear.  Forgiveness is not excusing sin as okay.  After all, God very clearly tells us that our sin is wrong, but he still forgave us of it. Forgiveness is letting go of your revenge and loving the person no matter what they’ve done to you.  This is what Jesus did on the cross.  He said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  He of all people had the right to punish us for our sin, but instead he gave up all punishment and loved us anyway! 

If God himself has forgiven my dad, how can I do any differently?