Forgiveness, an SBCToday devotional thought

August 14, 2013

Forgiveness

“… Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? …” Mt. 18.21 (NASB).

by Norm Miller

The old expression “A blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally” might be exemplified by Don Henley, singer/song writer for The Eagles. Henley’s song, “The Heart of the Matter,” provides telling commentary about the world’s perception of love, heartbreak and recovery. Henley indeed found an acorn. The remedy for broken-heartedness is forgiveness. Henley writes: “But I think it’s about forgiveness—forgiveness—even if, even if you don’t love me anymore.” There it is in a nutshell. In spite of how someone feels about you, forgiveness is the key to your healing after someone hurts you.

Matthew 18 is a classic passage on forgiveness. Few seem to recall the Lord’s words in Matthew 5, however, maybe because the former focuses on the one who offended you. The latter is more personal; it focuses on you as an offender. In fact, the Matthew 5 verses intimate that worship is inhibited or perhaps impossible if we don’t first seek forgiveness from someone we’ve wronged.

“These times are so uncertain / There’s a yearning undefined / … / How can love survive in such a graceless age?” Henley accurately states, except for that last phrase. This is not a graceless age. It is, however, an age filled with people who need grace, God’s grace. God’s forgiveness is an expression of heavenly grace—getting something we don’t deserve.

If a secular icon such as Henley can stumble onto a portion of God’s truth about forgiveness, shouldn’t the ones who have God’s Truth living in them lead the way in expressing the grace of forgiveness?

DIG DEEPER: Read Mt. 5.23-24 and 18.21-22. Note carefully the interpersonal relationships. Can you determine what God is trying to teach us? How important to God is forgiveness among His children?

© Norm Miller

 

 

 

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dr. james willingham

Norm: An excellent comment. I have founded it an incentive to forgive others by considering what it says in Ephs.4:32: “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Johnathan Pritchett

Forgiveness is a wonderful, expected remedy for God’s people, but it does indeed go hand in hand with repentance. In fact, though people should continue to love you if you offend them, those people should not forgive you unless you repent and own up to wronging them in some way. Likewise, we should not forgive unless someone repents. God does not even do that, and Jesus tells us to forgive if they repent (Luke 17:3-4). The flip side to that is that if one does repent their wrong-doing, the wronged party has a Biblical obligation to forgive.

    Norm Miller

    If I have forgiven others w/o rebuking them or being aware of any repentance on their part, should I repent and ask God to forgive me?
    ” … love keeps no record of wrongs …” I Cor 13.5.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Not at all. But, I was speaking of the ideal. Should the person who has done wrong not be instructed to repent just as much as the wronged are instructed to forgive?

JimP

The Lord said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” That was asked at the highest point of the worlds wrong.
The Jewish nation as a whole has not repented. The majority of the world has not repented.
Our Example.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Indeed.

    So, did God turn down Jesus’ request? Did all those people receive pardon by God regardless of whether or not they repented and believed?

      JimP

      “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them…” 2 Cor. 5:19
      Sounds a lot like God didn’t turn down Jesus’ request.

      But Jesus already knew the Father always hears Him, “And I know that you always hear Me…” John 11:42

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Well, we know at least one centurion confessed Jesus. (Mark 15:39). Do you think the “forgive them” was just referring to the elect among those who hung him maybe? Or perhaps its a nod to universalism maybe (that’s how universalists argue their case)?

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