Forgiven and Forgiving
God’s love for us is eternal, having no bounds and no limits. The writer of Lamentations captures this well, telling us “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is [God’s] faithfulness.” It is from this steadfast love and mercy that God’s forgiveness overflows.
Evident in God’s nature is the readiness and willingness to forgive. God’s journey with humanity has revealed this truth as seen in Israel’s story. Repeatedly, the children of Israel sinned against God; repeatedly they rebelled and chose to go their own way. And though angered, which was just for brief moments, repeatedly God would relent, forgive them and care for them as a mother would tenderly care for a child.
God’s compassion and forgiving nature is the basis for many of the Psalms and other books of the Bible. Psalm103, which is ascribed to King David, is one such psalm. David had sinned, committed adultery and executed the plan for the murder of Uriah, so he could cover up his adulterous act. As one who needed and experienced God’s forgiveness, he penned the words “as far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions from us.” David knew firsthand what it is to be forgiven by God.
The expansiveness of God’s forgiveness and compassion is wonderfully captured in the words of the prophet Micah, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sins and forgives transgressions. You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will cast our sins into the depths of the sea” (7:18-19).
What love! What forgiveness! So much so that we who are recipients should not be able to contain it, we should not hide it, but let it flow from us and extend it to those around us. This loving forgiveness that we have received should now be shown to others.
But how can we, you may ask.
Bill shared two of the ways we can in his sermon yesterday:
We can by looking up. Look up to God who readily forgives. When we have sinned, we should look up and ask for forgiveness. And God who knows our weak nature will readily forgive us of all our sins.
We can by letting go. Let go of the hurt and pain that we have held on to so tightly. If held tightly, the wrongs that have been done to us will be a stumbling block that prevents us from forgiving others. We all have done wrong to those around us at some point or another. We must take on the discipline of forgiving others, knowing that God has forgiven us.
As we go through this Lenten season, let us live in the reality that we have been forgiven by God, and we should live out our response by forgiving others.
Lenten Devotion 2018
Fourth Sunday in Lent