As a Christian, I am aware of my need for forgiveness. Lately, I have enjoying a particular Scripture.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be
Condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure,
pressed down, shaken together and running over,
will be poured into your lap. For with the measure
you use, it will be measured to you (Lk. 6:37-38).”
In Luke 6:37-38, we are reminded that we need to do a few things –
Be careful to not judge.
The first – It is easy to judge others, just as it is seemingly easy to judge the distance between our car and the car in front of us at a stop light. Judging is an essential part of life. Right? If we do not know how to judge properly, problems erupt. If we misjudge the amount of money we have in a bank account, we risk writing a bounced check. A criminal offense. Judging is an essential part of life is some aspects. But, we are called to not judge others.
But just as not judging is not a natural flow of living life, so is forgiveness. But, we are called to go against our prideful tendencies. We need to forgive one another. Jesus goes so far to say the one thing we ideally wouldn’t want to hear.
Forgive and YOU will be forgiven.
There is no moment to let our consciences decide if it is fair or not. Simply, we are called to forgive. Jesus Christ came to forgive us, so we need to forgive others. There is a specific quote that keeps reappearing in my mind these days. It is by C.S. Lewis.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
… From God
To forgive the inexcusable, means to recognize that we too have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (see Rom. 3:23). It means recognizing that we aren’t above the law of God. It means, we too, are accountable for our offenses (see Rom. 14:10-12). It isn’t just those around us. But, it is us too. We all are accountable to God. So, as much as we would like to give judgment, we need to remember that we too will face judgment. This is why forgiveness is such a big deal.
… From Others
Because, we stand in need of so much forgiveness in our lives. We need it from our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. We need it from our neighbors. Most importantly, we need it from God alone. We need the forgiveness only God can give, and through the obedience of other God-fearing men and women. I need both kind of forgiveness, just as you do.
So if I want to gain forgiveness, I must forgive. When that person runs their mouth, I must forgive. When I am given a critic remark, I must forgive. In any and all circumstances, I must forgive. Because this is God’s will for my life. God wants me to experience forgiveness. But, He is true to His Word. “If you want to experience My forgiveness, you need to be to allow it to come alive in you – by forgiving other people.” Those who receive mercy, they are the ones quick to give it.
The Sinful Woman
In Luke 7, we are reminded of this woman who was forgiven of much. This act of forgiveness should change her life, and it did! She runs in, as “the sinful woman” label still attached to her. But, that’s not who she was – not anymore, not since she met Jesus Christ. This woman, who has been forgiven of much, is witnessed as pouring out a beautiful love offering onto Jesus the Christ. The people couldn’t understand it. But when we have been forgiven of much, we will love and forgive others as we have been forgiven (see vv. 36-50). It is what will come naturally. God will use the “foolishness of this world to shame the wise (see 1 Cor. 1:27).” He will use the forgiveness we have received and have given to others, as a testimony to all those around us.
Even though those around this beautiful woman, judged her. She was not judged by Christ. She is loved dearly by Christ. Even when others judge harshly, it doesn’t represent Christ. As Christ’s ambassadors (see 2 Cor. 5:20), we need to offer much more grace and far less judgment to all those around us.
Mercy of God
This week’s Scripture reminds us of the mercy of God.
“Lord, suppose you kept a close watch
on sins. Lord, who then wouldn’t be found
guilty? But you forgive. So we can serve
you with respect.”
We all stand at the mercy of God, and He delivers forgiveness. Even when we are most undeserving, God grants forgiveness to those who call upon His name. Forgiveness stands readily available. It is our choice. Will we call upon His name and receive the forgiveness we are offered through Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord?
In our world, forgiving another human being can seem difficult at times. And, it is. But, it is something we have been commanded by God to do. It isn’t about our emotions or pride, but being obedient to Jesus Christ. Obedience is the call we answer, when we chose to forgive another person whether they deserve it or not. We do it for Jesus Christ, to please our Lord!
For me, forgiveness must start at the cross. Jesus Christ took all of our sins and burdens, and paid the price for them all. Through Jesus Christ, we are given freedom and redemption. We are given the freedom of grace. We can walk away from our wicked ways, and experience the cleansing of Christ.
While Jesus is at the cross, dying, and enduring the most painful thing – ever. He says something. Something we need to remember.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t
know what they are doing… (Lk. 23:34a)”
In Jesus, there is salvation.
How have you stood in need of God’s forgiveness?
Keep your eyes on the cross of Christ and His Resurrection. He is the same One who gives us victory through His death and resurrection. Even when we were most undeserving, He saw the joy before the cross and chose to forgive us the wretched men and women we once were. He saw fit to forgive us for every inexcusable thing we have ever done. He chose to forgive us, when He could have punished us. He went to the cross, instead of sending us to face our own punishment due to sin. He has forgiven the inexcusable in us, so why would we not share that gift with others?