Summary: Reconciliation for broken relationships is only possible when justice and forgiveness meet.
In Ernest Hemmingway’s short story “The Capital of the World,” three aspiring bull fighters try to make a name for themselves in Madrid. Hemmingway introduces this short story by telling the reader about a young man named Paco who had run away from his father to the big city of Madrid. The father came to Madrid and inserted an advertisement in the personal columns of El Liberal which said: PACO MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY ALL IS FORGIVEN PAPA. At noon the next day, a squadron of police had to be called out to disperse the eight hundred young men who answered the ad. It seems there was more than one Paco in Madrid who was longing to experience his father’s forgiveness.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition (p. 29). Scribner. Kindle Edition.
We have a desperate need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Today’s key word for a godly home is FORGIVENESS.
FORGIVENESS concludes the CROWN of CHRISTIAN VIRTUES found in Ephesians four. The chapter begins with a call to live the Christian life in a way that pleases the Lord. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” (Ephesians 4:1, ESV)
Throughout chapter four, Paul provides the behaviors that ought to characterize Christians, and the behaviors that are part of our old self. We are to “put off” things that belong to the old life we had before Christ, and we are to “put on” the new Christ like virtues.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” (Ephesians 4:17, ESV)
The last of the admonitions in Ephesians four center on the Christian virtue of forgiveness.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31–32, ESV)
A lack of forgiveness grieves the Holy Spirit who dwells within every believer. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30, ESV).
Forgiveness is vitally important. Most of us would not think that we are unforgiving, but consider some of the evidences of an unforgiving spirit:
‒ self defeat (self destruction)
‒ self exaltation
‒ putting others down through humiliation
‒ chain of broken relationships
‒ constantly repeating the past
‒ lack of joy
The first step in understanding forgiveness of others is to consider God’s forgiveness of our sin.
When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, God REMOVES our sin.
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12, NIV84)
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25, NIV84)
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7, NIV84)
When Christians sin, our fellowship with the Lord is broken. Although our standing with the Lord does not change, we must confess our sin so that we can be RESTORED to fellowship.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)
The word “cleanse” is the Greek word katharidzo. We speak of a KATHARTIC experience - something that brings cleansing
God Commands Us to Forgive Others
“in 1998, the John Templeton Foundation awarded research grants for the study of forgiveness to 29 scholars, and one of the primary discoveries of these studies is that the person who benefits the most from forgiveness is the person who does the forgiving” (J.T. Kendall, “Total forgiveness, xxviii)
We must forgive others because we all need forgiveness
John ‘Oglethorpe once told John Wessley, “I never forgive.” Wessley replied, “Well then, sir, I hope you never sin” (Illus for Bib Preaching, 152)
1 John 1:8-9 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 2:1 "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."
Proverbs 20:9 "Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?"