“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one other, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
It should have been easy to back the Ford Escape out of the garage. After all, it’s half the size of our former Ford Expedition. With that big vehicle, I had figured out when to start and stop turning in the eight-metre space between the two rows of garages at our condo. I understood the language of the Expedition’s back up beeper, and knew, when the sound changed to an alarming “flatline” sound, that I had gone far enough. This new car had fancy diagrams with sound effects and bright colours whose newness startled me, though, as I slowly reversed through the garage door. I should have paid more attention. How could I have ignored the flashing red bumpers of the car on the diagram? Ignore them I did. The result? A big scratch on the car’s left side where it scraped past the jamb of the garage door.
What will Terry say? was my first frantic thought.
When I got back from shopping, I knew that I couldn’t put off the dreaded moment of confession. I wondered, Will he forgive me? I needn’t have worried. As I confessed my lack of attention, Terry enveloped me in a forgiving hug. “It’s okay! After all, I was the first one to put a dent in the Expedition.”
“You did? I don’t remember!”
“It was when I backed out of the garage as well.”
Then, my long-suffering husband went out to buy some touch-up paint.
By his words and actions, Terry reflected God’s character to me. His instant forgiveness reminded me again just how God forgives us.
First of all, He approves when we confess our sins and don’t put off doing so. It wouldn’t have done me any good to try to hide the obvious scratch on the car. It’s also impossible to hide our sins from God.
As Terry immediately forgave me, God immediately forgives us when we come to Him.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV)
As I didn’t even remember Terry’s denting the Expedition, as we confess our sins, God remembers them no more.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NKJV)
Because God so freely forgives us, as Terry forgave me, we need to be obedient to the Word and forgive others. Then, God will forgive us, just as the Lord’s Prayer tells us.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV)
Our obedience in forgiving others is blessed by God’s forgiving of our own sins. A side benefit? It frees us from bitterness, and opens the door to further blessing in our lives. Can we graciously forgive others who wrong us?
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your great mercy! Thank You that You are so gracious to forgive us our sins, big or small! May we be as forgiving to others as You are to us! In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Alice Burnett <[email protected]>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission