THIS WEEK: Favorite Forgiveness Moments
Johnny had just been disrespectful to his grandmother and his mom directed him to tell grandma he was sorry.
“I’m sorry, Grandma,” Johnny said.
“That’s OK,” Grandma replied.
Is it though? Was it really OK that Johnny spoke in a disrespectful way to his grandmother?
No it wasn’t. It wasn’t OK.
I understand when we find ourselves in similar situations. It is a natural response to say, “It’s OK.” I surmise we are talking about the relationship is OK, even though the action that was done was not OK.
What if God would say to us, “That’s OK,” whenever we sinned against him? Mild comfort at best…license to do it again at worst?
Jesus wanted his disciples to say something much more powerful and significant to one who was repentant and sorry for their sin.
Listen for it.
John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Sin doesn’t just have consequence in human relationships. Sin decimates our relationship with God. The only way that moves our relationship from broken to fully restored is forgiveness. Forgiveness covers the payment my sin deserved AND restores the relationship that was broken.
I’m not going to be too hard on grandma for saying, “It’s OK.” But by the power of God’s Spirit we have the ability to tell Johnny and anyone who has wronged us something much more significant and powerful.
“I forgive you AND God forgives you.”
We also have the sobering privilege of announcing, “It’s not OK…It’s not OK between you and God.” Why? Because your sin is not forgiven. Why wouldn’t it be forgiven? Because the sinner is not repentant. If one thinks their action is OK when it is not, they will not experience the peace that forgiveness gives. Jesus wants those refusing to see their sin to realize that their sin isn’t just affecting things on earth, it affects one’s relationship with God for an eternity. Not announcing God’s forgiveness is done with a heart that desires always that the sinner does turn from sin and experience the deep peace forgiveness brings.
God gives his followers the privilege of doing both…withholding God’s forgiveness from those who do not repent and sharing God’s forgiveness with those who do.
Enjoy the forgiveness you have received, and where there is godly sorrow and repentance, enjoy the privilege of telling someone, “God forgives you.”
Apply: Next time someone wrongs you, respond by saying, “I forgive you and God forgives you.” It may sound awkward at first, but enjoy the privilege of speaking this powerful reality!
Prayer: Lord Jesus thank you for all you have done to secure our forgiveness. Thank you for the privilege and power to speak the truth of forgiveness to others. AMEN.