Monday, August 24, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, August 24, 2015

Forgiveness is a Wonderful Thing

In April 2015, Judy Scott suffered the agonizing loss of her son who was videotaped being shot in the back by a police officer. The police officer was subsequently thought to be trying to cover up the shooting by deflecting blame upon the victim.  Walter Scott's mom stated, “I feel forgiveness in my heart for the guy that shot my son.” Having three children, I can truly understand how frighteningly horrible it would be to hear about the loss of any of my children.

As terrible as a loss like this might be, I cannot even conceive of giving one of my children to pay for another’s evil deeds.  Yet, God so loved the entire world in spite of the evil, rebellion, sin, and all around bad behavior of the world that He gave His Son, Jesus, to be the ultimate sacrifice for sin (John 3:16). When Jesus was on the cross, He could have been annoyed at having to pay that awful price. He could have complained or pleaded with God about the unfairness of it all.  He could have talked against the soldiers who were torturing Him but He simply forgave them (Luke 23:34).

Jesus understood that the principle of forgiveness was crucial to obtaining favor from His Father.  If we cannot forgive others, how can God forgive our sins?  Unforgiveness blocks our requests for God’s blessings (Mark 11:24-25).

While we are forgiving others, we must also remember to forgive ourselves. God says that if we confess our sins, He will not only forgive us but also cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Let us make the decision that in spite of provocations and deliberate attempts of others to hurt us, we will forgive our brothers and sisters.  God will bless us for forgiving them.

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Luke 23:34
New International Version (NIV)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Mark 11:24-25
New International Version (NIV)
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

1 John 1:9
New International Version (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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