“Forgiven to Forgive”

Our Lenten Devotion for Thursday, March 31, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV

 

“Forgiven to Forgive”

“And as he hung dying in complete powerlessness, nailed against the wood of a tree, there was not bitterness, no desire for revenge, no resentment. Nothing to cling to. All to give” (from Walk with Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 70Henri)


It’s not always easy to bear with one another, especially when people become obnoxious or even unbearable. Whatever we have to put up with, however, is nothing compared with what Jesus endured while hanging powerless on the cross. In response to the mocking taunts and curses that were hurled his way, there was no bitterness or vengefulness in return. In fact, the first words from Jesus’ lips were words of forgiveness for those who had nailed him to the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).


Thankfully, Jesus forgives us for every desire for revenge or hurt we inflict, even when we know veery well what we are doing. In response to our Lord’s incredible love, we are moved to be patient, kind and forgiving with other irrespective of their flaw and faults and failures. Jesus enables us even to forgive those who have pained or wounded us. We are forgiven, in order to forgive.

 

Friends –

Although forgiveness is certainly very difficult, the facts that help me remember to forgive others are my own needs to be forgiven. Those moments when I know that I have NOT behaved in a way that Jesus would have me behave; those things that I have done that make me cry about my own actions. And even in those moments, I know that God has loved me and forgiven me. Also, I know that I am no more worthy of that grace than those I am called to forgive. And so, I pray for God’s strength to guide me to offering that grace of forgiveness to others.

--Pastor bea

 
Prayer:

Loving Lord, we thank you for your incredible love and forgiveness. Move us to share your kindness and forgiveness with those we love and also with those who are difficult to love. Amen.