By Rev. Dalton Lilly
Did you know that forgiveness is a gift from God? There is nothing more healing than to hear the words “I forgive you”. Forgiving someone for wrongs they have done or being forgiven for things we have done to others is the most precious medicine for healing our brokenness. These soothing words, “I forgive” bring reconciliation and peace to our souls.
The entire Bible is centered on the most outrageous mystery, salvation through forgiveness. God from the beginning of creation declares our waywardness and separation from Him through our adoption of sin. God saw the dilemma for man since that separation in the garden of Eden. Our sinful nature has stubbornly remained over time with relentless opposition to God’s goodness. But thank God, He has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him through forgiveness.
I am so thankful today that the theme threading through the entire Word of God is a message of redemption. He loves us, sees our sin and He forgives us. His love has come to us through His only Son Jesus.
Through the death of His Son Jesus, the cross becomes our reconciliation. He paid for our sins to restore our fellowship with the God and Father of all creation. His demonstration of love toward us was born in forgiveness by His Son. God’s act of mercy toward us is also called “Grace”. It means we get a second chance to escape our sin and receive the free gift of eternal life in heaven.
So, what should be our response to the marvelous gift of forgiveness God has extended to us? When we ourselves can find love enough within our soul to say those words “I forgive you”, we extend the gift that we have received from God. For someone to hear those words, “I forgive you” a pathway to reconciliation is opened. The act of forgiveness is the cleansing that allows us to be washed clean of our wrongs. It removes the weight and the burden of guilt from our shoulders.
Jesus is the author of forgiveness. The mystery that infuses the entire Old and New Testament of the Bible is a story of redemption. It is God’s love letter to mankind. For those who respond to God through faith, the message of redemption and salvation is our gift and testimony.
Our salvation and reconciliation should be the gift of hope we pass on to others in this world. When we forgive, we demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit that resides within us given by Christ. He, in fact, commands forgiveness from us. Jesus points out to His disciples in Mark 11:26, “But If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
By letting go of past wrongs by others we extend the love of God. By forgiving others we release them of the burden of guilt. In doing so we also relieve ourselves of a thing called bitterness. When we hold anger and resentment toward others, we also suffer. An unforgiving heart brings bitterness to our soul, and that bitter root can grow and steal away our joy. We may cover the seeds of pain and resentment deep within but eventually, they will begin to grow and destroy our souls. (Hebrews 12:14-16)
If there is someone in your life that needs forgiveness from you, don’t let another day go by without giving the gift of forgiveness. You will both give and receive the greatest gift of all from God. Peace and reconciliation.
May God bless you richly and often,
Rev. Dalton Lilly, Narrow Road Ministries, Fredericksburg VA 540-785-9919
Header photo: Amanda Hathcock