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Steve Ridenour Ministries

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone." Mark 16:15

A Time Of Forgiveness

He endured much pain, and suffering as He hung on that wooden cross, large nails driven through His wrists, and His feet.  The thorn crown He was forced to wear caused drops of blood to run down His forehead and mix with tears as they ran down His cheek.  The weight of His body caused the nails to slowly tear at His flesh.  His side had been opened with the stab of a Roman soldiers spear.  The soldiers laughed, and mocked Him, as they offered Him a drink of sour wine.  He suffered, so much more than any mere human could physically stand, and yet even with all of this pain, and this agony, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Today is a great time to remember that Jesus Christ gave His life, and died on the cross for you and me, bridging the gap between God and us.  Now all of humanity can approach God directly through Jesus Christ.  Let today be a time of remembrance of the fact that Jesus rose from His grave, resurrected from the dead, to rule with power and glory over His church.  Jesus' resurrection assures us that death has been conquered, and that His follower's will be raised from death to live forever with Christ.  Let today be a time of forgiveness.

Try to imagine yourself in Jesus' place as He hung on that cross, enduring such excruciating pain, and then envision yourself forgiving those that have put you there.  It takes love beyond comprehension to forgive like Jesus forgave His executioners that day.  Roman politicians, Jewish leaders, soldiers, bystanders all present as Jesus was insulted, ridiculed, tortured, and yet all of them truly forgiven by God at the request of His Son.  This awesome act of forgiveness was so powerful that the very same Roman soldiers that executed Jesus that day said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.” This witness was so great, that one of the criminals, crucified next to Jesus, turned, and asked for forgiveness, and Christ accepted him.  Even in His misery, Jesus had mercy on this criminal who decided to believe in Him.

As we approach tomorrow we should search within ourselves, and forgive those who have caused us to carry around the burden of anger.  The power of forgiveness is immeasurable.  Jesus put it to us very plainly when He said, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Anyone who has struggled with pain and anger caused by another, knows that it takes enormous power to really forgive - to put aside one's hurt, and reach out to an offender with the embrace of forgiveness.  On the other side, forgiveness can release the wrongdoer from paralyzing guilt, and even turn around the course of that person's life.

Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?  Seven times?" "No!" Jesus replied, "Seventy times seven!" Don't keep score of the number of times that you have forgiven a person.  Just let the love of Jesus continue inside you, and keep forgiving that person.  As Paul told the church of Colossi, "You must make allowance for each others faults, and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."

Because we are all sinners, we all played a part in putting Jesus to death on the cross that day.  We have all sinned, and none of us are worthy of God's forgiveness, yet He continues to love us, and to forgive us.  David sang of God's forgiveness in Psalms 65:3 "Though our hearts are filled with sins, you forgive them all." And again in Psalms 86:5 David sings, "O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask your aid." Now if God can forgive us for all of the wrongs that we have done, who are we that we won't forgive those who we feel have wronged us?

Beginning today, let's remember why Jesus died on the cross.  Let's remember that Jesus gave His life so that we might live.  And let us remember the awesome love that God has for all of us, a forgiving love unlike any other.  Beginning today let's forgive.  Let's let the love of Jesus reign inside us, and forgive with the same love, with the same intensity, and the same forgiveness that we have been forgiven.

Copyright 2002 - 2014 Steven R. Ridenour