I absolutely love 1 John 1:9-10. It talks about the grace that God gives us through forgiveness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:9–10 (ESV)
I think it means so much to me because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I needed to be forgiven when I became a follower of Jesus. I couldn’t believe that Jesus would be willing to forgive me so freely and that He was willing to die for me. I’ve never forgotten it and it’s one of the reasons I am so open to talk about sin now instead of trying to just talk about my successes. That forgiveness is so overwhelmingly freeing that I want people to experience it for themselves. God truly offers forgiveness for you, but there is a catch. We have to admit our own sins.
That, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest problems facing our culture and it’s prevailing influence on the church. We don’t admit faults. We want to celebrate our individuality and we don’t want anyone to tell us that we have doing something wrong. It’s one of the primary reasons that people have such a distaste for authority, today. Especially young adults and teens. The growing belief that all truth is relative is also a result of celebrating ourselves over truth.
Truthfully, I have found it easier to embrace my own forgiveness from God when I’ve wronged Him than I sometimes do in offering forgiveness to others who have wronged me. It’s part of our human nature that Jesus talked about with His disciples. In fact, he took the need to forgive others to a whole other level.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14–15 (NIV)
As we’ve seen this week, our relationships with others is very important to God. We are going to develop conflict and He wants us to forgive each other quickly so we can move on and continue to demonstrate love for each other. Community is so much more important than any of us know and we are living in a culture that is choosing individuality over community. How many people are in counseling, have broken marriages, aren’t speaking to family or friends, or feel utterly alone because of something that happened and they weren’t able to forgive? Forgiveness is always a gift. It’s a gift from God to us, it is a gift that we can give to others, and it is a gift that frees ourselves from bitterness. How capable of expressing forgiveness are you?
Truth: God freely offers forgiveness and wants us to do the same for others.
Question: Why is it so difficult to forgive, sometimes? (Would love to have a discussion through the comments below!)