Bible Verse: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
Scripture Reading: John 8:3-11
Certainly, the English poet, Alexander Pope, had it right when he wrote, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Truly, to have this aspect of forgiveness, we need to draw on God’s divine nature, His very life. Otherwise, left to ourselves, every natural impulse within us wants to strike back in vengeance when we are wronged. Every internal drive wants to expose and punish our offender. Interestingly, when the roles are reversed, and we are the ones who have done the wrong, we just as strongly want to be forgiven and have the incident forgotten. We understand the importance of forgiveness for ourselves, but we lack the inward motivation and ability to express this same forgiveness to others. Obviously, we require a source of forgiveness outside of ourselves.
When Jesus came into this world, He did not come with a message of condemnation. He did not come with judgment, but rather with a message of love, acceptance and forgiveness. He did not come to straighten the world out but to make a way for it to be forgiven. Jesus was called a friend of sinners. How could this be? He was perfect, faultless and without sin and yet, sinners felt He was their friend. They felt comfortable in His presence. The reason for this was that in His presence they did not feel condemnation. What they did feel however was conviction. Condemnation causes us to harden our hearts and become defensive; conviction causes us to open our hearts and desire to change.
We are to express and manifest God’s Forgiveness to others. We are the continuation of the ministry of Jesus. We are living in a time of grace. The message of the church is one of forgiveness, not one of condemnation. The world is already condemned. Jesus did not have to speak a word to condemn the world; it was condemned already – rather He came to speak words of forgiveness. We are to manifest this same trait. We are to manifest forgiveness freely to everyone with whom we come into contact.
So if we are to forgive in the same way that Jesus did, our definition of forgiveness is:
God’s Forgiveness is forgiving everybody, all the time, for everything, before they ask and before they change.
Forgiveness is not just an act; it is an atmosphere. An act of forgiveness happens when someone has wronged you at a particular time and you say to yourself, “All right, I will choose to forgive this person, this one time, for this offence.” However, God doesn’t want you to just live your life as a series of individual acts of forgiveness. He wants you to have an attitude of forgiveness, where it is not an event but an environment that you create around you. Whoever comes into your space – whoever comes into your environment – will find love, acceptance and forgiveness.
— Ken Miles in Is There More To Life Thank Living? © 2016 Joshua Gordon Bookworks. Used by permission.
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