Interesting to me how important in Scripture is the concept, and the action, of forgiveness. It begins early in His-story: in Genesis 3 God forgives the first sinners, does not condemn them, but clothes them to withstand the world outside the Garden. God is a loving and forgiving God.
In our service today you will hear Jesus speak a parable so unlikely it must have shocked His audience. The parable is about forgiveness. And from Genesis the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers, after all they had done to him, after the privations he suffered – which God brought him through.
And our message hymn, “Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive,” leads us in 4 short verses through the difficulty of forgiving others, the certainty of God’s forgiveness of us – and the link between the two. After all, the Lord’s Prayer requires of us a heart of forgiveness that we might enjoy His perfect forgiveness of us, even in our sinfulness like Adam and Eve. In the Apostles’ Creed, where is forgiveness mentioned? Right next to resurrection of the dead. Our lives in eternity with Him depend upon God’s forgiveness of us as faithful people, and as the Prayer says, He expects we will forgive our debtors here on this earth.
That is not easy. Especially difficult is the forgiveness of someone who has wronged us and will not acknowledge it or apologize for us. But for whom is forgiveness, after all? Is it for the perpetrator of wrong? No. It is for us to relieve our hearts of the burden of anger and bitterness. God asks that we let it go, we know that, as David says, He will create in us a clean heart.
May God continue to bless and keep us all in the saving faith of Jesus Christ, and His forgiveness.