Posted on Apr 05, 2019 by Mike LeDuke Next article:The Wages of Sin
For how many months have you held a grudge against someone?
What about years?
Can you still remember all of the frustrating things that someone has done to you? And have you vowed not to forget?
But what about forgiveness?
From a young age, we’re taught to forgive. When someone wrongs us on the playground, or when our friend accidentally hurts our feelings––we’re told to forgive once someone apologizes. And so the friend says that they are sorry, and we tell them that it’s “okay.”
But as we get older and wrongs become more and more serious––and as we perhaps become more and more set in our ways and less resilient––forgiving becomes much harder.
And yet, perhaps it’s even more important.
Consider what God explains about forgiveness through the prophet Jeremiah:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
Do you see what this teaches us about the centrality of forgiveness? No longer will Israel need to be told to “know” God––because they will completely and entirely know Him. But why? Because God will forgive them.
Just think about what that means.
Forgiveness isn’t just something that one person does to another after a fight on the playground. Forgiveness isn’t just when one person lets go of the grudge that they had held for years. Even more, forgiveness is the means by which we know God.;
In other words, if we don’t understand forgiveness, then we don’t know God.
The same thing was said by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Speaking of John’s role, Zechariah said:
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77).
Forgiveness of sins is the method by which we understand both God and salvation.
As such, it’s something that we should spend some time thinking about.
So, what is forgiveness? Why do we need it? And how does that understanding affect how we forgive others?
Lord willing, we will consider those questions in our next few posts.
-- Jason Hensley