Sunday, April 03, 2005

Forgiving Like God

Yesterday at worship we discussed the command of Scripture for Christians to forgive one another. We used as our text Colossians 3:13. "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." That is no small task. We discussed the way God forgives us - by taking the first step, by desiring reconciliation, by not keeping track of our sins, and by forgiving as often as needed. We decided that we, too, should learn to forgive in these ways, because anything less is not imitation of God and not capable of restoring "shalom" to the world.

Following the lesson we always have time for questions and answers. This week there were lots of comments and questions. One man said, "It is hard to forgive, especially when someone has hurt you deeply. But if they ask, and I believe they are sincere (usually they are crying), then I will forgive them." A teenager responded, "I am so mean that I will not usually forgive even when the person is crying!" She was not proud of that fact, just honest enough to admit that she needs to grow in this area. One elderly woman said, "What if the same person does the same thing over and over again? Do I still just keep on forgiving?" When I rephrased that question to apply to her sins against God she admitted that she is a multiple offender herself! The depth and breath of discussion following this lesson confirmed that we have a lot of work to do in forgiving others and receiving forgiveness from others. There is nothing more important in the life of discipleship than learning to forgive like God forgives.

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