I'm reading, and about to finish, John Ortberg's
book, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box
. Chapter 19 is called, "Be the Kind of Player People Want to Sit Next To." He explains that monopoly experts say that the number one key to winning the game is to be that kind of player -- the one that other people want to sit next to. Even the smartest players will lose if they do not develop a relationship with those with whom they are playing.
In life, this is called living a life of grace. Ortberg
breaks it into three components. Learn to lose with grace, to win with grace and to forgive with grace. I think each of those might make a post, but I'm thinking today about forgiving with grace.
Why do we forgive?
He says that when we stand at the foot of the cross, we become aware of how much we ourselves are in need of forgiveness. "At the cross, I remember that for me to expect to receive ultimate forgiveness purchased at the ultimate price from heaven yet withhold it from someone who has hurt me, is the ultimate contradiction." I agree with that, and certainly a realization of my own sins will motivate me to forgive the sins of others.
I started thinking about that, though. I'm not sure that it would speak to someone against whom a huge sin has been committed. Now, before you start, I know that sin is sin, and there are no gradations. Certainly, though, there are differences in the earthly consequences of sin. My harsh words to a friend are sin. The murder of a child is sin. Comparing their earthly consequences, though, shows that the pain of one is so much more than the pain of the other.
If I commit the first sin and am the victim of the second sin, when I stand at the cross, am I going to be motivated to forgiveness?
Why do we forgive?
I was reading an article in Christianity Today
written by Philip Yancey called "Ongoing Incarnation: Would Christmas have come even if we had not sinned?
" He says, "Those who root their identity in Christ have a holy mission to reclaim territory that has been spoiled. The Christian ministers to the poor and suffering not out of humanistic motives, but because they too reflect the image of God; insist of justice because God insists on it; ..."
Why do we forgive? Because God insists on it. It is a response to the idea that we are recreated in Christ -- that we reflect Christ to the world -- to the idea that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We do his will -- forgiveness -- because he insists on it.
When I teach classes, and we talk about grace and forgiveness, two of the most difficult concepts for people to believe is that God forgives even the most horrible, terrible sin -- and in fact has already done so, and that we are capable of doing the same. He has forgiven the murderer, and we are able to do it, too, because Christ is incarnated -- because he has given us his spirit.
Why do we forgive? It's not because we realize how terrible we are. It's because we realize how glorious God is, and that through Christ and his spirit, we have been made sinless and blameless, and not only that, but we are given the power to forgive. God insists on it.Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.Note: Hymn lyrics from "Speak, O Lord."
Labels: forgiveness, grace, Ortberg Box