Thursday, June 11, 2009

Extending and Receiving Forgiveness

'Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.'
- Psalm 103:1-5

'Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.'
- Colossians 3:12-13

'And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.'
- Ephesians 4:30-32

'…men who love one another kindly and courteously forgive one another, and hence it happens that they willingly bury each other's vices, and each one seeks to preserve the honor of the other…. Who is there who has not many faults? Therefore all stand in need of forgiveness, and there is no one who does not wish to be forgiven.'
- John Calvin, Commentary on 1 Peter 4:8

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
- Robert Robinson, Come Thou Fount, verse 5

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

I need forgiveness. I need to know my many sins have been, and continue to be, covered by Another. Surely, if someone kept a record of my transgressions I would sink under the weight of them. There isn't a day that goes by when I am not acutely aware of transgression in thought, word and deed. And even now, as I look back over 50 plus years, I see the need for forgiveness by others as well. I have broken trust and broken promises. I have mislead. I have not spoken the truth. I have spoken harshly. I have not extended grace. I have judged uncharitably. I have kept a record of wrongs. I have thought unloving thoughts. I have not shown mercy. I have not defended others when I should have. I need thoroughgoing forgiveness, both by God through Christ, and by others. I need to know my many transgressions have been borne by Another.

Over the past couple of weeks God has graciously and kindly brought brothers back into my life that have extended forgiveness to me. They had every right to relegate me to another list than friend, but having experienced the forgiveness found in the gospel of Christ they graciously have extended forgiveness to me. I love Calvin's words, '…men who love one another kindly and courteously forgive one another, and hence it happens that they willingly bury each other's vices, and each one seeks to preserve the honor of the other.' These men have buried my vices...willingly. They have undeservedly preserved my honor. The effectual and operative grace of God in the life of the Christian enables us to extend genuine forgiveness and grace, because this is the character of God. In the life of the church there is abundant opportunity for offense. You will be offended and you will offend, but the Spirit of God gives us the grace and ability to forgive. Trust me, I know this first hand. We all need it.

Grateful for brothers and sisters in the community of forgiveness,

Pastor Dan

No comments: