Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Audacity of Forgiveness

Lately, God’s been dealing with me about forgiveness – both seeking it and offering it. I had no idea how challenging it would be. Forgiveness is never easy. In fact, it can be, as one commentator said, “the most difficult thing in the universe.”

Making it doubly difficult is our culture, which mocks at the idea of forgiveness. We are constantly encouraged to exploit our “right” to be offended at everything and exact vengeance on those who cross us.

Forgiveness, however, is a fundamental pillar of Christian character, and perhaps the one that is the most easily neglected. But to neglect it causes great harm. It can turn the Christian into the very things he hates: harsh, rigid, and bitter. This, in turn, leads to holding grudges and elevating pride.

As uncomfortable as it is, it is absolutely essential in Christian relationships. Though we hate to admit it, the church has its share of sins, imperfections, errors, misjudgments, and wrong attitudes, and these occur among the church leadership as well as the congregation.

John MacArthur:

The church needs to be filled with forgiving people because in this life people are always going to do things that irritate others or cause problems. If you’re willing to forgive an offender, you’ll be free from the bondage of bitterness. You’ll also be free to be forgiven by God and experience blessing from Him.

In the next few posts, I’ll share what I’ve been learning about forgiveness from the Scriptures.

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