I’ve been thinking about Forgiveness a lot lately – mainly in the context of forgiving others during a high stress time in my work place. We are called to forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven. We see this when Jesus says “Forgive your brother again and again and again and again and again, and when you’ve done that you forgive him again and again and again, and when you can’t count how many times you’ve forgiven him, you forgive him again and again and again.” (Matthew 18:22 Dramatically Embellished Version)
We also see it in the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 “Forgive our moments of stupidity when we totally ticked you off Father and help us to do the same to those who do it to us.” (Matthew 6:12 DEV)
But what does forgiveness really boil down to?
Let’s back up a second and look at this from a different angle. Why do we need forgiveness? The short answer I’m sure you’re giving yourself right now is “because I’m a horrible sinful person.” The long answer, the one that helps us to understand forgiveness, goes something like this.
“I’m unclean. I have broken the Law of Moses and offended the Lord God with my actions, my lifestyle, and/or my attitude. I’m a criminal in the sight of God and in need of trial.”
In other words, we seek forgiveness out of a deep seated desire to follow “the rules.” Rules and regulations we can’t hope to live with and that have ways for us to become clean, to grant us forgiveness of our sins (like sacrificing the best lamb of our flock) but even that became too much. What happens when I don’t have enough money or enough resources to buy and pay for a sin-offering against my transgression?
Jesus says that he came to fulfill the law and this is what he meant: that He would stand as the sin-offering for all of man kind for all of time. All we need to do now is ask the Father in heaven “Does Jesus’ sacrifice cover (Insert sin)? Am I forgiven for this by Jesus sacrifice?”
To which the Father replies “Yes.”
So do me a favor today. Imagine a box. It’s about the size of a shoe box. And all your sins are contained within. Now image a cross in front of you and standing in front of it is a man with a really long beard and really long hair. You probably can’t make out his face clearly but that doesn’t matter because he’s holding out his hands, waiting for you to hand over your shoebox full of sin. So give it to him, and be forgiven.