Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Take Heart, Your Sins are Forgiven

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Fought…and…Won. Welcome…Home…Daddy! Hamburgers…for…Dinner.

Maybe you’ve seen the weekend news segment where viewers share their stories in just three words. The meaning behind these statements varies from tear-jerking to just plain silly.

I have my own three word statement. It’s a powerful one. It has the potential to change not only me, but my relationship with my family and friends as well. But, for some reason, one I can’t explain, this three word statement is very difficult for me to say. Instead of rolling off my tongue, the words stop at the back of my throat, and are too often replaced by weak, meaningless substitutes. As a pastor’s wife, this revelation seems odd to me, and frankly, a little embarrassing. Of all people, I should be able to say these words without hesitation right? It’s not that I don’t understand them, or desire greatly to offer the meaning behind the words, I just have a hard time saying them. The words, “I…Forgive…You,” feel like they should come naturally. They don’t, and this troubles me. But, (here’s my attempt to drag you down with me) these words are seldom spoken by other moms I know either. Listen. I think you’ll agree.

We teach our children to say things like, “Don’t worry about it,” or “Forget it,” “That’s okay,” or my personal crutch “Thank you.” (Lame, I know.) Here’s the problem. Sin is never okay, and worry is the natural emotion that follows when you’re not sure that a friend really will forget how badly you hurt her. These substitutes, carry with them nothing but the means to an end of a conversation, an argument, or quite possibly even a relationship. This is not what our Savior intends for us.

The words, “I forgive you” unlike any other response, offer the healing that can only come through the One who said them first. “Forgive” carries with it love, and compassion, and restoration. No cheap knock off even comes close. The word, “forgive” is a witness to the fact that our own sins have drowned and died in the waters of baptism and we are a people recreated every day in the image of God. “Forgive” provides a witness to Christ himself, who died to make forgiveness possible, and rose to someday make it obsolete.

Why is it so difficult for me to say, “I forgive you?” They are words that I desire my children to know well from me, and they’re ones that I want them to be able to offer in return. I’m out of practice. Maybe you are too. Let’s change this together.

I pray that starting today, when our friends, our children, and our spouses come to us seeking forgiveness, we can answer them with the same words that Jesus says to us. “Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven” Matthew 9:2

Christ suffered, died, and rose for this!

Author of Forgiveness,

Help me use your words today as a first step in offering healing to myself and others. Don’t allow me to present my children and my spouse with any type of substitute for your forgiving grace. Remind me always of your presence, and enable me to forgive as you have forgiven me.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

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