Oh How He Loves Us, And Oh How He Forgives Us

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

It’s Good Friday as I write this article. And as I think about what Jesus did on this day I’m reminded of a question someone asked me recently. I posted the chart below in a blog post a few weeks ago, along with a caption that said, “The more you give genuine forgiveness, grace, and mercy, the more peace and joy you’ll receive.”

In the comment section of that article a friend of mine Jeffrey Green asked, “Can you find a Bible verse that is supportive of the truth in your statement?”

I’ve been thinking about that question ever since. I think we can all agree Jesus emphasized forgiveness. The scriptures are full of Jesus admonishing us to forgive.

After Jesus told us how to pray in Matthew chapter 6, he only emphasized one part of his prayer. The part where we’re to say, “. . . forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” After providing this perfect and beautiful model prayer for us, Jesus said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (see Matthew 6:9-15)

And Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)

“Judge not,” Jesus said, “and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven,” Jesus said in Luke 6:37.

And when Peter came up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

So yes, without question Jesus puts a huge emphasis on forgiveness.

But that wasn’t exactly Jeffrey’s question, was it. His question was, Is there a Bible verse that is supportive of the graph and the statement made in that blog post, Experience Peace in Your Life?

And the answer is no, there is not. There is no one verse that supports that graph and that statement.

But . . .

There is a passage that is supportive of that graph and that statement, the statement: “The more you give genuine forgiveness, grace, and mercy, the more peace and joy you’ll receive.” And it’s found in Matthew 18.

And as is often the case with Jesus, it’s found in the form of a parable.

Matthew 18:23-35

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:23-35

So I don’t think anyone would argue that the unforgiving servant — having withheld forgiveness, grace, and mercy from his debtor — was soon after experiencing distress, dismay, and anxiety. As a result of his unwillingness to give forgiveness that unforgiving servant did not receive God’s peace. As we see in Jesus’ parable, it doesn’t end well for us when we don’t forgive.

And as it relates to Good Friday:

A most terrifying parable this is for me.

Because I know full well what happened on Good Friday.

And I know I’m a sinner.

And I know I’m forgiven.

I know Jesus said those words:

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

He said that as he hung there, dying on that cross. (Luke 23:34)

He forgave me.

And now it’s time for me to become a way more forgiving person.

“God have mercy on me, and have mercy on the dear person reading this right now. Fill us with the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Father help us to forgive.

“In Jesus name we ask this of You.

“Amen.”

Notes:

Image of Peter Paul Rubens’s Christ on the Cross between the Two Thieves (c. 1619) via Wikimedia Commons

One Comment on “Oh How He Loves Us, And Oh How He Forgives Us

  1. Pingback: Oh How I Thank You Father | God Running

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