I was recently challenged in a message* when the pastor asked, “Are you a forgiveness hoarder?”
I know this is a difficult and sensitive area for many that have been horrifically sinned against. I am not a Bible scholar but I do not see a single exception to God’s command and expectation that we forgive others.
Without Christ you and I were condemned, deserving of death.
He paid a very precious price to satisfy His justified wrath to secure our forgiveness.
…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Col 2:13-14
This amazing, undeserved, gracious gift of forgiveness is meant to be received, embraced and allowed to change us, change our hearts. When we understand the magnitude of our own sin against the One True God and His free and abounding grace and forgiveness to us, it changes us. Our hearts swell with love for our Redeemer.
God’s forgiveness is not to be only received but also to be extended, passed along that others may swell with greater and greater love for our Redeemer too. We can be a conduit of that love.
…if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Col 3:13
What if we viewed forgiveness as being about loving God and modeling His love to us and His love to others?
Don’t start with the premise that the offender deserves forgiveness. If God waited for us to deserve forgiveness or even desire it, we would still be lost in our sin but Romans 5:8 tells us He did not wait. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
How can we be forgiveness hoarders after being forgiven ourselves? Nothing, nothing, nothing we have done warrants our forgiveness. Don’t fool yourself by thinking you deserve to be forgiven. You don’t. I don’t. Apart from the free and gracious love of God we would still be lost with not a life sentence but an eternal sentence of punishment.
Yet, if you know Christ personally and are redeemed, regenerated, born-again – you have been forgiven and the debt has been paid in full. There is not a single milligram of God’s wrath remaining towards you.
Isn’t that just too good to keep to yourself?
*Message by Pastor Nick Swan
Diane Hunt serves part time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a Biblical Counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.