Forgiveness, Evidence of God’s Glory
Everywhere we look, we can see the handiwork of God. The psalmist tells us that “the heavens declare the Glory of God.” Paul says, “His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” We see evidence of the Lord all around us and like to point to the tangible. We are physical beings and so we love the seeable and touchable evidence. But God is also very relational, and an intrinsic element of the human condition gives us a piece of evidence rarely considered in this context. Forgiveness.
Have you ever considered how foundational forgiveness is to our existence? There isn’t a person who hasn’t needed to seek or grant forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there couldn’t be meaningful human interaction and relationships. Forgiveness is one of the ultimate manifestations of love that keeps a society running. The world will boil everything down to chemical processes when it comes to emotions and love. But forgiveness goes against every “natural” response that we have.
When someone wrongs us, they betray our trust, we get hurt. The natural response is for us to avoid that experience from ever happening again. The only way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to get out of that situation, cut those people off. But here’s the problem. We’ll never be able to escape others hurting us. And so we stay. But in order to stay, we need to do something, and we need others to do something for us. We need to fight the natural desire to write people off. We must swallow our pride, and do something that makes no earthly sense. We need to emotionally and spiritually clear their record and forgive them.
In Matthew 18, we read Peter challenging this unnatural need to forgive. “How many times do I need to forgive?” he asks. Jesus responded: “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
It’s tiring, emotionally draining, we think there has to be a limit. But then Jesus tells us something beautiful about it’s foundation. He essentially says there is no limit to how much we must forgive. What’s more, forgiveness is how Jesus explains and relates the Kingdom of Heaven to us. Forgiveness is what we’ve received from the Lord to such an extent that we can forgive every transgression against us. The currency and substance of God’s economy for us on earth is forgiveness.
Today our world is embroiled in chaos and turmoil. Many have forgotten God and it isn’t very surprising that forgiveness has also been forgotten. Show God’s love through forgiveness. Show His handiwork by showing forgiveness.
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