I was on Catalina Island studying Mark and Jesus had cursed a fig tree. When the disciples saw it later in the day they remarked on how quickly it withered. Jesus replies about their ability to pray: but when you ask the father, be sure you have forgiven…
The next week I was given the opportunity to be prayed for in a circle as part of a class at Fuller Seminary. It started out with a basic suggestion that I list the first name of anyone I wanted to forgive, that Jesus knew the story and the people in the group didn’t need to. I went on and on, as the Spirit brought people to mind, and finally realization just flooded me: this is how you want me to LIVE! I got it. I wanted to hug Jesus…and he nudged the leader to come give me a hug.
Then why am I so often sad?
I forget that I am not the only one needing grace. Not the only one needing forgiveness. I hold others to a higher standard than I do myself, wanting them to portray godliness as convenient to me. Not always me portraying godliness as convenient for them.
Forgiveness should be mutual. In any one conflict it may be hard to see what both sides can ask the other to forgive, but both are under the cross, both need the blood of Christ forgiving. That came home to me one day when served communion by someone whose husband had offended mine, how we all live only by the hope of Christ’s blood forgiving our sins.
Another time I told my deepest darkest secret to a friend and the blessing of hearing her give me in words and hug God’s forgiveness felt like an instant million dollars in my faith account.
You need me to forgive you? No problem, I’ve got it and to spare. Jesus said, Forgive us… as we have forgiven others and on the flip side, if we (having received God’s forgiveness) do not forgive others, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us.
Whoa there, take that seriously! I need, absolutely need the Father’s forgiveness, so if he’s linking that to my heart’s willingness to forgive others, you better believe I want to forgive!
Only, I forget.
We humans need reminding more often than we need instructing.
Maybe that’s why we have keepsakes filled with memories?
Celebrations of the church year, the Biblical stories…God’s redemption of Israel. September’s coming: a time of repentance and forgiveness to start a new (school) year. Then blow the trumpets, live out in tents, reconsecrate your body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Live forgiven and forgiving, remembering the great good news.
Thanks be to God!