Forgiveness and the Cross

[Jesus said,] “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful. Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:35-38 (WEB)

It would be impossible for me to be in Holy Week and not meditate on ‘forgiveness’. Forgiveness is an act of a disciple of Jesus that I have to pay intentional attention every day.  It is so easy for me to justify holding a grudge or holding on to an offense.  Jesus gives me NO ‘wiggle room’ when it comes to forgiveness.  He is very, VERY clear that there is NOTHING that I can hold against someone because when I do – I am judging them.  Judging and condemning is not part of being His disciple.  I am to LOVE and SERVE my enemies, lending to them freely without ‘charging interest’!  My reward “will be great” and I will be a child “of the Most High”.  Doesn’t get better than that!!!  Jesus showed me over and over how He extended kindness, miracles, and blessings to people who were ungrateful and sinful.  Can I possibly do less?

God is so merciful. He extends forgiveness to me certainly “seventy times seven” and more!  God shows me the ‘measure’ of His mercy and EXPECTS me to give in the same measure.  There are consequences if I withhold my hand of fellowship and forgiveness to others.

“Forgiveness is our chance to create divinity—granting it only begets more.” — Eugene “Lucky” Hudson, saxophonist, wise man(1)

It is in forgiving that I experience a portion of what Jesus has done for me.  As I continue to walk in His steps and, yes, stumble and fail and get back up again, I do so with Jesus’ hand to raise me up.  When I humble myself and seek God’s forgiveness, I learn about the unconditional love of God and receive some understanding about how I am to be an open pipe through which God’s forgiveness flows to others.  Every time that I do forgive, I don’t lose something!  I GAIN more of God inside of me!  God’s seeds find fertile ground inside of my open heart and His good fruit will grow and grow, spilling out on to others.

(1) 50 Things That Really Matter 2003. Under license from Rodale Books exclusively for Hallmark Cards, Inc.

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