NORMAN — Good morning, Norman. As you read this devotion, I am finishing up a week of ministry in Cuba with Reaching Souls International.
Over the past week I have had the opportunity to preach and see firsthand the work of pastors and churches in Cuba. We have talked about the need and importance of forgiveness in our lives and in our world.
When you think about it, forgiveness is an offensive concept? It’s offensive because it acknowledges a standard of right and wrong. The New Testament word “sin” helps us to understand this juxtaposition. Sin is the picture of an archer aiming at a target and “missing the mark.” The scripture affirms that we all miss the mark. We sin against God, we sin against ourselves and we sin against each other. As such, we hurt others and others hurt us. The pain and consequences of sin mark us physically, relationally and emotionally. Sins deadly sting never leaves us in peace, but lingers and gnaws and destroys a little more each day.
So, what are we to do? Is there any relief? Yes. We find help and healing through forgiveness.
There are two sides of forgiveness. First, we need to be forgiven. We have sinned against God and His intentions for life and relationship with Him and with others. Our sin has caused pain, grief and death. We are guilty and because of our guilt we are dying on the inside and outside.
God’s forgiveness through Jesus, however, frees us from the guilt of our sin. He took the eternal consequences of our sin upon Himself, freeing us to find new life and second chances in Him.
Second, we must forgive. We have all been the victim of someone else’s sin. We are wounded and scarred. Revenge, bitterness, anger, hatred and the like churn within. If we don’t find relief, they will eventually fulfill their purpose in us: death. So, Jesus instructs us to forgive. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We forgive because it liberates us. We forgive so that others might find redemption as well.