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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Forgiveness

One of the most amazing things about Christianity, is the idea of Forgiveness. No, not the idea, the CONCRETE FACT of forgiveness. It is a primary part of true Christianity.
Without the Atonement,the Blood Sacrifice of Christ, there would be no FORGIVENESS. Without FORGIVENESS, there would be no eternal life, and we would all be condemned.

I was watching a documentary the other day on the massacre in Rwanda. Oh what a heart wrenching, disastrous time it was. 800,000 people were massacared in less than 3 months. But what struck me in the documentary was a simple woman. She was just a simple village woman. She lived a very simple life with her husband and 5 children.
But, in one night, as she fled for her life, her husband and 5 children were massacared
by their neighbor. He answered the call of evil, and acted upon it, just as many neighbors did. It is hard to fathom, but it happened.

But, here she was sitting in front of her home weaving a basket with the neighbor's wife; her friend. And in the next scene, she was serving dinner to the man who massacared her husband and children, eating with him and breaking bread with him.

She was asked: "How could you forgive him?"

Her answer was very simple. "He asked. There is nothing that can bring my family back."
After this man spent 6 years in prison for his crimes, he was brought back to a tribunal to face those he harmed, and he humbly asked, publicly,for forgiveness.

Another thing that caught my attention was the humility of the murderer. He humbly asked for forgiveness and he received food from the person he hurt so very much. They were neighbors once again.

This may sound extreme and it is. But there is some basic truth here that is very important.
This helped me to see why in scripture it says one of the things the Lord HATES is pride. Proverbs 8:13 says, "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride, Arrogance and the way of evil, and perverted speech I hate."

If this man had not humbled himself and asked for forgiveness, he would not have been able to receive forgiveness from this poor woman, and she could continue to be harmed in her spirit.
There would be unsettled business. The rejection of forgiveness by being unrepentant and prideful is another deplorable act against the individual.

This woman said she is a Christian and I believe her. The scripture is clear that we are to forgive those who harm us and sin against us.
Why is it so hard for us to forgive sometimes?

Jesus Came to atone for our sin, yet He was rejected. His forgiveness was for those who would receive it, yet there were those who refused His offer. Pride and Arrogance kept them from receiving what was offered to them. Instead, they chose death, and to walk in Darkness. John 3:19 says, "And this is the judgment, the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil."

One of the most painful things we can experience is the desire to forgive somebody, and yet be rejected by them. So we offer our forgiveness, lay it out there for them to receive, but it really is up to them to take it, and it is up to us to keep a forgiving heart. This can only be done by the power of the Spirit working in our lives.
This is a theme that we have discussed many times with our children. They have had so many hurts in their little lives, yet must come to a place of forgiveness, as Christ has forgiven us. They do not get to see the other person accept their forgiveness or know if they are even sorry.
But offering forgiveness sets them free to love. It moves them to a new place in life. It has been taken care of before the Lord, and in that place, we can find the healing hand of God on our hearts.

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