Giving New Life Through Forgiveness

Think about it…where would any one of us be without forgiveness? It is HUGE! I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of things I have done wrong in my life… and I’m not even talking about all the wrong stuff I’ve not done but have thought about or harbored in my heart. Add all that to the scales, and we tip them over, turn them upside down and around again! Yet I have been forgiven! I’ve hurt my parents, I’ve hurt my wife, I’ve hurt my children, I’ve hurt my friends, I’ve hurt my dog, and most of all I’ve hurt my God! Yet I know the experience of being forgiven by every one of them.

Forgiveness is absolutely crucial to a husband and wife relationship. With it you breathe new life into your marriage. Without it, bitterness takes root, walls go up, and eventually a relational meltdown occurs. Big hurts and little hurts add up to what seems like an insurmountable hurdle. Questions abound… What if she isn’t really sincere in her apology? What if he does it again? How many times do I have to forgive?

These and other questions are good and genuine matters to consider. I wonder though, if they don’t overshadow a reality that, if more fully understood and experienced, would enable us to discover and embrace their answers more readily. The reality I am referring to is this: Why was it necessary for Christ to die for you? Let me say it another way, emphasizing three words: Why was it NECESSARY for Christ to DIE for YOU? Were you that bad? Are you really that much of a sinner? Did He really have to die – wouldn’t just a few beatings have been enough for your sin? Was it really necessary? Was your sin so black that there was no other way?

The Apostle Paul said about himself in Romans 7:18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh…” and the prophet Isaiah said in 64:6, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags….” I heard an 84 year old wise and Godly man once say about himself: “One thing I am most surprised about at my present age is how much I am aware that sin still abounds in my life!” Nothing good? All my righteous deeds are as filthy rags?

Sin abounding still at 84? How can this be? To answer that question, we must recall Jesus’ message that He looks at the heart of the man, not the outside appearance. He sees our every self-centered thought, desire, and action. He sees our critical spirit, our judgmental thoughts, our jealous desires, our lustful thoughts, our hateful moments, our wish for revenge, our prideful spirits, our greed, our materialistic lifestyles, our arrogant ways, our anger at life, our demanding cries, and even our rage at God Himself. He sees all this and much, much more in every one of us – and yet for Christ’s sake, He forgives us! Whoa!

I am convinced the composer of a recent worship song is absolutely correct when he says: “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross!” Only to the degree we see our sinfulness, will we see the wonder of His forgiveness. To the degree we see that wonder, we will then have the grace to forgive others, including our spouse. Zerrin and I forgive each other and/or receive forgiveness on some level nearly every day. And when we do, we breathe new life into our relationship. I encourage you to do the same!

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