First of all, a disclaimer: This is not about football. This blog will never be about football because this writer knows nothing about the game. I am generously giving this post a pigskin-ish title due to a Monday morning reflection after a sermon that hit home with me. Sorry if I got your hopes up about the Super Bowl or something, but honestly, I rarely know who’s playing, much less enough to comment on it. At any rate if you are still reading, I hope you forgive the misnomer in the title long enough to derive a point from this rambling.
I generally take home one point from a sermon, even if it is very good, and it often is not the main one, probably because my mind or heart gets stuck on a place where God and I have some business to attend. We had a guest speaker from the International Missions Board yesterday. Dr. Bob Reccord spoke of “The Joy of a Clean Slate.” It was based on the Scripture including the Lord ’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-14. He spoke on forgiveness. Chances are I have gotten some of this out of context, and I will not go into the details, so if you want to go hear the sermon for clarity, check here.
The first point on what forgiveness is went something like “forgiveness is the cancellation of debt whether the wound is real or perceived.” That could be a post in itself, but the second one still has my full attention. He said that “authentic forgiveness includes restoring a view of worth to the offender.” Often, I believe I have forgiven someone, but I don’t know if I get to this point. I tend to put them in the “Other” category of people who could hurt you so watch out. I do it not as judgment so much as a perceived protection from being hurt again. It may be judgment, too, but it feels more like a fear of trust. It strikes me that I haven’t done the full business of forgiveness, and this is not how I want to be forgiven by the Lord, based on Matthew 6:14. I want full restoration, and yet I fail so often to extend it myself. Forgiveness from God is given not because we deserve it but because we need it to walk in relationship with Him. The final point Dr. Reccord made was that forgiveness is “ceasing to withhold the possibility of restored relationship.” Now, I’m stuck on point number two, but digest that if you can also. Just as God restores our relationship with Him, that is the kind of forgiveness I should be extending.
Lord, You know this heart needs much work, so I ask again. Help me to not only forgive but see others as You do, with restored value and worth, withholding nothing by Your Grace.
Give us generous hearts, Lord, to learn Grace from You and offer it as freely to others as You have unto us. Amen.