Thursday, February 23, 2017

Learning Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not a natural inclination for human beings. As Anne Lamott, author of Small Victories, writes, if we could will ourselves or think ourselves into forgiveness, we wouldn’t be in the state we’re in. God’s Spirit moving in us, around us and in this world empowers us for forgiveness. God’s stunning act of forgiveness through Jesus Christ is our encouragement and inspiration.

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been forgiven of our sins, both those that we freely admit and those we keep concealed in our hearts. God loves us beyond measure and wants to be in whole and right relationship with us. God initiates that relationship by saying through Jesus, “I love you; you are mine. You are of great value; you are forgiven.”

The season of Lent is a season that lends itself to examining forgiveness, both the gift of God’s forgiveness and our own practices of forgiveness. While we yearn for the cleansing and life-giving forgiveness of God, we struggle to offer the same. However, Jesus told his disciples that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven. This task may seem impossible, but it is Jesus’ desire for us.

So, where do we start? We begin by acknowledging and accepting that the forgiveness of God is possible in our lives and in the lives of others. I remember a man sharing with me that he suspected that God would not forgive him for past actions. It was clear that his struggle was not with whether or not God was forgiving, but whether or not he was worthy of forgiveness.

The Gospel of John (Chapter 3) tells us that God sent Jesus, his only son, to bring salvation to the world. God’s forgiveness is not intended for just the very good or the people who have figured out how to be perfect. God forgiveness does not flow like a trickle from a stingy faucet; it is a free flowing spray that can cover all who choose to step into it.

Join me this Lenten season, as we celebrate, explore and learn forgiveness. If you would like to receive a daily emailed Lenten devotional please send me an email.

This article also appeared in the March/April issue of the Brighton First newsletter.

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