[Revisiting Worship Wednesday – The Forgiven Forgive – David Crowder & Matthew West – Deb Mills – Checking my heart.]
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” – Matthew 6:12
Early in Jesus’ earthly ministry, he preached out on a hillside to a great throng of people. This Sermon on the Mount set in motion the public teaching of Christ. In it, he focused on the hearts of men and women rather than on the religious law.
Toward the end of this sermon, he taught those in hearing how to pray. Within this beautiful prayer is the verse above:
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
In this short verse, we hear both our need for God’s forgiveness as well as our need to forgive others.
To know the life-giving and eternity-saving forgiveness of Christ, we need to reckon with our own sinfulness. Yet, we are blinded to our need for Him by our disposition toward holding others’ sins against them. We can’t see our own need for forgiveness because our eyes, minds, and hearts are full of contempt for those we think need ours.
This side of Heaven, we reckon with the presence of sin in our hearts and in that of others. It is a part of life in this fallen world. Just as we seek God’s face daily in confession and repentance, rejoicing in forgiveness, we have His grace and power to do the same for those around us.
Photo Credit: C. S. Lewis, AZ Quotes
Forgiveness…such a lovely experience, for sure. We LOVE being forgiven. Forgiving others is the tricky part.Photo Credit: C. S. Lewis, Twitter
All my life, I have heard how essential it is to forgive:
- “Keep short accounts.” – my mama
- “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes
- “Don’t retry people in the court of your emotions.” – Tom Elliff
- “As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind.” – Isabelle Holland
Christ Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer calls us to ask God’s forgiveness for the debt of sin we owe and are unable to pay (thus needing Jesus as Savior). We ask God’s forgiveness as we forgive others – even if we are determined they owe us something (thus the word debts/debtors).
Seeking forgiveness for ourselves and forgiving others are high priority to God. They both relate to keeping our hearts pure before the Lord, keeping us from having a seared conscience, and acting for the sake of our brother/sister, restoring our fellowship with him/her (unity).
It is urgent that we ask for forgiveness and take action to forgive. Right away.
As soon as we sense, or hear, or are made aware that we have sinned against someone, we need to move to make it right. Quickly. There is much at stake: our right relationship with that person, and guarding our own hearts from apathy, self-justification, or blame shifting. In other words, sin heaped upon sin. When we remember how much God has forgiven us, we are tuned into the destructive nature of sin on ourselves and others.
Then, on the flip side, if someone has sinned against us, go to him and seek peace…be reconciled. – from Matthew 18:15-17
Forgiveness is not a work by which we earn God’s forgiveness. It flows from a heart satisfied with the mercy of God and rejoicing in the cancellation of our own ten million dollar debt (Matthew 18:24). With man it is impossible, but not with God. – John Piper
It is not easy to forgive always. Some wounds are deep and reopened often. God makes a way. We cling to Him and to the amazing grace we have because of His forgiveness. Our emotions may lag behind and may take time, but we can forgive in an instant. Mark it down and remember it to God, ourselves, and (when necessary) the Evil One who accuses. We can forgive in an instant, and healing begins.
Two songs come to mind in thinking about our hearts toward forgiveness. David Crowder’s Forgiven and Matthew West’s Forgiveness. They both take us to the very teaching of Christ – how much our sin separated us from God – and how we who are forgiven from our burden of sin will never want to hold onto the sin of unforgiveness. The forgiven forgive.
Worship with me with the help of these two songs pointing us to a heart of forgiveness, a heart bent toward God. A heart He tenders toward those who need forgiveness, too.
“The Christian is to proclaim and initiate an irreconcilable war against his choice sins.” – William Gurnall
Heavenly Father, thank You for this pattern of prayer that Jesus taught. Give me a gentle spirit and help me to be quick to forgive all those who have hurt or abused me… knowing that for Christ’s sake I have been forgiven of so much. I pray that I may maintain close fellowship with You, and be swift to forgive those who sin against me – in Jesus name, AMEN.” – Daily Verse
Photo Credit: FBC Yorktown, NY