Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Can I Forgive...Vera Sinton

Imagine some of the things you would find most difficult to forgive.
  • injustice carried out for cynical political ends
  • the jealous destruction of a man because of his good influence over others
  • being betrayed for money by someone you trusted
  • desertion by a close com[anion at the moment of danger, denying all knowledge of you
  • beating someone up for a bit of fun
  • allowing an obviously innocent man to be sentenced to one of the most cruel deaths ever devised
  • standing and jeering at a person in excruciating pain
Jesus, God's son, was the only sinless person who has ever lived. While all these things were happening to Jesus, he was loving the people involved, offering friendship to the one who betrayed Him, warning his companions of danger ahead. He gently challenged the governor who sentenced him. He openly prayed for the soldiers who nailed his hands and feet to a cross, 'Father forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.'
At the climax of it all he was bearing the full penalty of all the sin committed by people down the centuries. He experienced what it felt like to be out of touch with God, as you and I are. He cried, 'Why have you forsaken me?'
God responded with a unique demonstration of his power over the universe. He raised his Son to life again. Jesus met his followers again and gave them good news to pass on: the offer of forgiveness and new life lived in love with God.
The forgiveness God offers us is not a cheap and easy one.
The philosopher sneered, 'God will forgive. It is his business.'
The cross of Jesus Christ tells another. story. God poured out his heart in costly love, sending his beloved Son to die for you and me. He invites you to turn to him and say, 'I am sorry for my sin. I believe Jesus died for me. Please forgive me and make me your son or daughter again.'
But realize, if you take that step, you are also committing yourself to forgive.

How Can I Forgive...Vera Sinton

You Are Not Perfect

We have seen that one reason for forgiving is the inward-looking one: resentment damages yourself.
But there is a more outward-looking reason. None of us is perfect. If you are honest you will admit that, like everyone else, you frequently need forgiveness. You need it from other people. You need forgiveness from God.

That last thought may be a new one to you. Your words, your actions are not meaningless. They are not just your private concern. They matter to a God who knows every detail of your inner life.

When you are lazy or untruthful, careless or cutting, greedy and cowardly, you offend the Creator who made you. When you hurt another person, or fail to put energy and talents to use, you are actually hurting a Father who cares about you and the people around you, like children and family.

King David in the Bible once arranged the death of one of his best soldiers because he had fallen for the man's wife. When he began to feel guilt about what he had done, he wrote in a poem to God, 'Against you, you only, have I sinned.'
He understood the seriousness of his actions in the eyes of a God who cares.
This may sound gloomy to you, especially if you are feeling sore about how other people have hurt you. But in fact it is only the prelude to good news. The good news is that God offers you complete forgiveness, and He does it in a way that takes seriously the hurt and damage done by your failure and sin.
God's forgiveness is linked to a real event that took place in history but is still immensely relevant today.
Imagine some of the things you should find most difficult to forgive.