Jun 30, 2021
Even though most U.S. homes have at least one copy of the Bible, few know what’s in it.
There are all sorts of things: wisdom for living, history, spiritual food. It’s the Bible’s practical value that hooks most people who read it. The Bible says a lot about money, how to raise kids, and even how to strengthen your marriage.
It also says a lot about forgiveness. Forgiveness is mentioned dozens of times in the Bible. In Genesis 33, Esau forgives his brother Isaac’s treachery in stealing his birthright. And the most famous example is the forgiveness Jesus chooses us on the cross, as his accusers and executioners mock him. Think about how hard that was! It gives some perspective on our own situations in life.
When you think about it, the entire theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is one of forgiveness. Man chose to bring sin into the world, and defy God’s perfect plan. Yet God didn’t leave us in that state. He made a way for our sins to be put away – forever.
Jesus Christ became the vessel through which forgiveness could be extended on an epic scale.
One of the most difficult passages in all the Bible is found in the New Testament. Matthew 5:43–45 says, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and you hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”
In the here and now, is there anything more difficult than forgiving a mocking enemy?
There are people in the world who delight in making others miserable their whole lives. But Jesus is telling us forgiveness is possible. The key is when we take the long view. We must mentally and emotionally take ourselves out of the pain we‘re experiencing right now.
Think of the future. Begin imagining the most wonderful healing that can take place between enemies.
That’s what God did for us. The Bible tells us He is holy, and cannot look on sin. Yet in Genesis Chapter 3, God began the process of grace. In the Gospels, and in Paul’s letters, we see Him continuing to be patient with us. And then in Revelation, the long view: God takes our acts of forgiveness and makes a powerful, redemptive new world. And we can look forward to that.
Father, thank you for having mercy on us in every way. Sometimes we need to forgive someone, and sometimes the shoe is on the other foot. Help us to read your Word, and act on your commands to forgive. Especially when it hurts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.