“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I’ll bet you skimmed over the “as.” Would you want to ask God to forgive you exactly as you’ve forgiven others? Think about it. Forgiveness turns out to be a rather unsettling issue.Read more
Sometimes suffering and joy coexist. Jesus suffered the agony of the cross for the joy set before Him. What was that joy? Gaining intimacy with us.
The cross is love in action. There Jesus lives out God’s law by loving God, loving His “neighbors” (soldiers, thief, mother, and friend), and loving us.
At Christmas Jesus left heaven. At the cross heaven left Jesus. Both were costly gifts.
In Gethsemane’s garden, Jesus prays in agony: My Father, if this [cup] cannot pass away unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42); Father,if it is possible, let this hour pass me by (Mark 14:35); Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done (Luke 22:42). Matthew, Mark, and Luke each pick up different nuances of Jesus’ cry to the Father. Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ active cooperation with His Father’s will: unless I drink it. Mark points us to Jesus’ longing for a less horrific solution to our alienation from God: Is there any other way, any other possibility? Luke makes clear the Father’s will: There is no other way. The Father’s words aren’t recorded for our ears, but Jesus hears them , surrenders., and continues His walk towards this necessary pain.Read more
We don’t discover what forgiveness is from looking at the people around us. Neither we nor our relatives, friends (or enemies, for that matter) do it as well as it should be done. Some people, of course, forgive better than others, but perfect forgiveness? We can only learn that from God. He shows us exactly what forgiveness is supposed to be … and wants us to imitate Him.Read more
Many popular ideas about what it means to forgive don’t describe real forgiveness at all. Forgiveness myths abound. We identified (and, I hope, dismantled) five of these myths in last week’s post, 5 Forgiveness Myths. But 3 more myths remain: the idea that forgiveness is passive, the equally misleading idea that forgiveness is useless, and the assumption that forgiveness is optional. Let’s examine these last myths now, myths #6, #7, and #8.Read more