This morning I was listening to a daily devotional, and it was looking at the story of Simeon and Anna, when Jesus was tiny, and they recognised how amazing he was, and the difference he was going to make in the world. Then, there was the question, “Do you still recognise how amazing Jesus is? Or do you just take it for granted?” I have to admit the question hit me like a bolt out of the blue. That happens though doesn’t it? Things that we are so fortunate to have, and we don’t acknowledge them, but just take them for granted. Parents, houses, food, education!
Last week I was teaching about forgiveness to the year 11 full course RS group. I always forget how difficult it is to talk about forgiveness, and to explain it. I fear I may have sometimes got to the point where I take forgiveness for granted.
The parable that we have chosen to talk about forgiveness is the parable of the prodigal son. The son asked for his money, pretty much suggesting he wished his father was dead. The Father allowed it. The son went away, spent it all, and came back once it had all gone and he had nothing else to do, and realised how good he had it at home. The Father welcomed him back with open arms.
In the same way the Father gave his son what he asked for; God has given us freedom. We have been given freedom to make our own decisions, which more often than not, will lead to mistakes. But when we realise we have made mistakes we can go back to God, we can say sorry and we are forgiven. We are welcome with open arms.
I know a lot of people who really do not like the idea that God will forgive all mistakes, if someone is truly sorry for what they have done. Murderers, bullies, thieves. I understand where they are coming from, it seems as though someone is being rewarded for doing something horrible.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you are saying an act is OK. Forgiveness is accepting that someone made a mistake and not holding it against them. It isn’t easy, as it involves letting go of things and not wanting to take revenge.
Gee Walker’s son Anthony was murdered, by boys he’d grown up with. Gee forgave the boys who murdered him, and she said it was because she needed to grieve and that was a big enough burden without worrying about revenge as well. That was beyond her control, and that was under God’s control.
Why do we forgive? CS Lewis said “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in us”. We have been forgiven, therefore we should forgive. How do we do that in our daily lives? Pass it on to the appropriate person to deal with. Don’t hold a grudge. By holding a grudge, it weighs you down, and can be detrimental to your health!
I know there are no real answers here, but, hopefully it has set some cogs turning! Don’t allow forgiveness to be taken for granted, recognise it for the gift that it is.
Prayer: Father God we thank you that Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Allow us the strength to forgive those who hurt us.
Challenge: If there is something that someone has done that is still playing on your mind and causing upset/anger. Write it on a piece of paper and put it in a Bible/screw it up/ throw it away. Give it to God. Let Go and let God!