We are the church; a family of believers committed to building each other up and producing new disciples in Jesus. Our calling is to make disciples of Jesus through prayer, study, and mission service. Through involvement with the church body each person will have opportunity to know and experience prayer, as well as grow in their understanding of God and His desire for our lives lived out through mission minded service. A key element in the process of growth for any believer is the ability to accept and give forgiveness.
The power of forgiveness is rooted in grace, an unwarranted favor. It is not something earned or deserved, it is something given. To forgive actually means that the slate is wiped clean; the debt is crossed out; the “wrong” will not need a “right” to bring balance. In an article titled Truth and Reconciliation Archbishop Desmond Tutu said; “Forgiveness gives us the capacity to make a new start. That is the power, the rationale, of confession and forgiveness. It is to say, “I have fallen but I am not going to remain there. Please forgive me.” And forgiveness is the grace by which you enable the other person to get up, and get up with dignity, to begin anew. Not to forgive leads to bitterness and hatred, which, just like self-hatred and self-contempt, gnaw away at the vitals of one’s being. Whether hatred is projected out or projected in, it is always corrosive of the human spirit.”
Forgiveness may be a difficult step for many believers… both to accept and give. We do have an example. Do these words sound familiar? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34. Jesus uttered these words as He hung from the cross. The 21st chapter of John’s gospel also gives us a compelling example of forgiveness. Peter, along with other disciples, were still trying to sort out the devastation of Jesus’ crucifixion and miracle of His resurrection; so, they did what men have done for centuries, (and still do today), they went fishing. You’ll have to read the chapter yourself… but, long story short; Peter jumped from the boat and raced toward Jesus. He wanted to move forward with his life and his relationship with Jesus. Perhaps, he was still burdened by his inability to forgive himself about denying even knowing Jesus, (John 18). They had “shore lunch” and then Jesus asked Peter to take a walk with Him. You’ll have to read their conversation in 21:15-17. Did you see it? Jesus didn’t hold it over him, He let Peter stand. Jesus even encouraged Peter to stand and move forward in life. The offended let go of the offense so that the offender could also.
Let me close with this statement from a book I’ve been reading entitled; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchividjian. (pg. 138-139)
"The cross is where his (Jesus’) mission to “seek and save the lost” was ultimately accomplished. Remember, he died a criminal’s death. In that fateful moment, Jesus not only associated himself with tax collectors and prostitutes and lepers and movie stars and addicts and preachers and mischievous teenagers, he bore their sin on his shoulders. He bore our sin – every last drop. There was nothing partial; it was and it is the apex of one-way love. Jesus suffered the scorn, the punishment, and the wrath we deserve, and in return gives the gift of his righteousness. It cannot be undone. Those who are lost are found, and where there was once judgment, there is now only love, extravagant and free. Where there was once guilt by association, now there is only glory by association.”
I resolve to live a life of grace; fueled by forgiveness – both accepted and given. We are the church; a family of believers committed to building each other up (through forgiveness) and producing new disciples in Jesus.
Living in His and your forgiveness,