Summary: Gods desire is to forgive
Forgiveness Is Free
Matt. 9:6-7 “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"--then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." 7 And he arose and departed to his house”
Forgiveness signifies the remission of the punishment due to sinful conduct, the deliverance of the sinner from the penalty, Divinely, and therefore righteously, imposed; secondly, it involves the complete removal of the cause of offense; such remission is based upon the sacrifice of Christ.
Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, a well known secular humanist and novelist, said, "What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me."
Imagine if you had no one to forgive you.
What if every spiteful, hateful thing you had ever said, thought, or practiced remained on your head forever. Everything you ever said in anger that injured another. Every act that betrayed a friendship. Every single sin.
There are, of course, rules and guidelines that God has put before us. He does not want us to ignore these rules. His intentions are for us to follow them exactly as laid out. He has moral and ethical guidelines. Jesus gave us many examples through His own life on how to operate in ours. It is when we fail to follow these rules and guidelines that we are said to sin.
When someone is locked up in a prison, there are many, many rules to follow while they are there. If you should ignore any of those rules, I can promise you that there will be a punishment of some sort to follow. Let me assure you also, that if the offender asked the jailer to please forgive him and just forget the punishment, the jailer might fall over laughing. When we are dealing with our fellow men, most of our iniquities are rarely forgiven.
People who carry the burden of unforgiveness eventually start to show signs of the toll it takes. Unforgiveness keeps us from our families. It destroys marriages. It destroys friendships. Healing and restoration can not start until forgiveness is granted.
But once it is, then we are brought back into broken relationships.
The problem we face though, is there are rules we have broken and only we know about them. There are thoughts we have that no one else hears about. Unacceptable actions that are done when no one sees us.
Where do we go for forgiveness then? How can we free ourselves of the guilt we feel?
There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
1 Jn. 1:9 “9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
Just like Pacos’ father, God desires to forgive us. And just like Paco, many of us have run off. Many people carry so much guilt that they believe there is no way to return home to God. Some of us carry such a heavy load. Our lives are affected in a terrible way. Feeling lost with no hope for forgiveness, we live for today. Live fast, live hard and die young. And why not? After all, there is no way God can forgive someone like you.
2 Chronicles 7: 14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin…”
God loves all of us. And if you have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for you, then you are indeed called by His name. Gods offer here is for all who are His. He has a track record of compassion. All through the Bible we see God as He compassionately and with great love and patience gives His children chance after chance to return to Him. I particularly appreciate the story of David. The man whom God said was a man after His own heart. Let me share this story with you:
2 Sam. 11: “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.