2. Forgiveness is ~ A Gift I Give To God.
When I choose to forgive someone, it is as though I am gift wrapping a package in the most exquisite paper and ribbons and then placing it in God’s hands. “Here, this is for you, Lord.” Why would I want to give God a gift that feels so expensive to give? (Forgiving some people is excruciating.) I want to give in response to how deeply He has forgiven me.
Jesus was once a guest at the home of a wealthy man named Simon. Simon and his wife probably had an expectation of how the evening would go since they were the hosts but they couldn’t foresee that a woman would arrive who would do something outrageous. She came to the table where everyone was reclining and began to pour expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. She emptied the jar. The cost to her amounted to a full year’s salary. Simon, the host, thought to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is —that she is a sinner.” Jesus began to tell a parable about who loves more….someone who has been forgiven a small debt or another who has been forgiven a huge debt. Jesus said to Simon, “You did not give me any water for my feet when I arrived. You did not kiss me. You did not put oil on my head but she has wet my feet with her tears, has not stopped kissing my feet, and has poured perfume on them. Her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7
According to Jesus, there is a mathematical equation in play. The amount to which I’m willing to forgive others is directly related to how much I have internalized Jesus’ forgiveness of me. If I consider myself a good person in comparison to others, I believe that I don’t need as much in the way of a pardon. I do not see that the ground at Calvary is level. We all come as beggars, condemned, unless we acknowledge our need of a Savior who paid death’s penalty for our sin. If I believe I’m better than most, I will be stingy when it comes time to forgive. I will extend a fist rather than an open hand.
If you feel that there is no way you can forgive a certain person, and you’re just stuck, ask God to show you how much it cost Jesus to save you. I did that and I mourned my sin. Nothing was more beneficial to my heart than that.
If I had lived less than a year, ‘infant Christine’ would have still needed a Savior. God, I know that. I’m a sinner, saved by grace, to forgive others recklessly. But only by the power of Your Spirit am I able. Thank you. Amen