Unfettered Forgiveness

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21:22)

 

During that time, rabbis taught the people that they ought to forgive others three times. So when Peter suggested seven times, he likely thought the “perfect” number was more than sufficient. However, Jesus did not concur. Seventy-seven times or seventy times seven, (depending on which verse we read) is a matter not of actual numbers, but rather of a number so high that a person would not actually keep a record of faults and foibles forgiven.

 

This is not necessarily an easy task, and often, the repeated steps of forgiving occur for one single action. There are times when we have to forgive again and again for one isolated incident. On Saturday, I wrote of a childhood friend who lost her seventeen-year-old son in a tragic car accident. He was doing nothing wrong, yet was t-boned by a speeding, and possibly intoxicated driver, at 7:00am. Not once since that tragic day, have I seen a single statement by her that has condemned the other driver. However, I imagine that each time she pictures her sweet son, she has to stop and forgive the other driver, as she is left wondering why her son was taken so soon. She is a woman of unflappable faith, and I know it is only by His grace, that she is able to choose to forgive.

 

All of us have contributed to a comparable atrocity against Christ. Though He was without sin, He was killed for our sake, because of our sin. However, He chose to allow our actions that grieved the very heart of God, to be placed on Him, so that we could be forgiven. EVERY. SINGLE. SIN. As He willingly bore the cross, He declared, “It is finished,” so that we could be forgiven, and likewise we could go forth and forgive others.

 

Count not the times,Unfettered Forgiveness

we have to forgive;

for Christ counts not,

forgiveness He gives.

Let His love lead,

when it’s hard to love;

He is our strength,

all grace from above.

Despite the deed,

the pain to our heart;

we must forgive,

and grant a fresh start.

Just as our sin,

was worn on that cross;

we must let go,

trust God with each loss.

All in His hands,

be it large or small;

help to forgive,

He’s covered it all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us for all of our sin, the moment we come to You and confess. Thank You that You do not hold things over our heads, but rather once You have forgiven, You have chosen to forget and let it go. Thank You that as we come to You and seek You, You help us find forgiveness, even in the face of great adversity, grief, and anger. Forgive us for our unforgiveness, and make us acutely aware of things that we are holding that need be released. Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May we be gracious and kind, abounding in Your love. Let others see Your goodness and grace in us, and may that be what draws them unto a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified as we extend Your forgiveness and grace to those who grieve our hearts. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – I Corinthians 3:5

 

 

Loving through Loss

photo by Sea Greene

photo by Sea Greene

No time to grieve,

His family loss.

He set aside,

and bore His cross.

Compassion felt,

for all who came.

He cured the ill.

He healed the lame.

The crowd knew not,

of all He’d lost.

Nor what He’d pay,

upon the cross.

For each of us,

He’d set aside,

His royal crown,

so we’d abide.

With each nail strike,

His love poured out.

The sacrifice,

our life’s about.

And more than that,

when He did die,

the veil was torn,

to hear our cry.

It was for us,

His sacrifice;

for God’s great love,

has paid our price.

(Responding to Matthew 14:13-14)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible example of sacrificial love that we have in Jesus.  Jesus, thank You that You chose to love and to heal, despite great personal loss.  And so much more than that, thank You for Your love that bore our sin and shame on the cross.  Thank You that You made the way for us to be in relationship with You – that we can come close without fear nor needing to present a sacrifice – we can just come as we are before You, and be real.  Forgive us for being flippant about the magnitude of Your sacrifice, and please help us to keep proper perspective so that our hearts may be ever full of praise for You.  Teach us to love like You, in all things and at all times, regardless of what is going on in our own lives.  May Your love in us, lead many unto You.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present