24 Feb 2020
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa once wrote a book called "No Future without forgiveness". It was part of an effort to heal the deep wounds which people had experienced in the years of apartheid in that country.
The title of the book has an ongoing importance for us because it is telling us a really Biblical message. We have no future unless we confess our sin to God and receive his forgiveness. Without that we are lost. The word 'forgiveness' itself, and the other Bible words which refer to forgiveness, teach us a lot. For example, there are words which mean to cover, to lift away, to send away or to let go — to loose away.
They are all telling us of how the burden of guilt we have because of our sin can be lifted, the grip of our sin can be loosened and how we, sinners as we are, can be free and have a future with God. God gives us forgiveness, but we must accept it from him.
However, forgiveness is a 'two-sided coin'. "As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive". We may forfeit the blessing of forgiveness if we keep an unforgiving spirit stored up in our hearts and minds. In Ephesians 4:32 Paul writes: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you".
Dear Lord, help me to remember that the cross of Jesus is the cost of my forgiveness and help me also to forgive others as I have been forgiven. Amen.