Friday, April 19, 2013


"As far as the east is from the west, 
So far has He removed our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103:12

"For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more."
Hebrews 8:12

"For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You."
Psalm 86:5

Three precious verses, filled with deep wells of truth that not only should we cling to but imitate.

Truth observations:
  1. Since the east never touches the west, our sins have been completely removed.
  2. God cannot forget but He can choose to remember no more.
  3. God exists prepared to forgive - it's His default position, His homepage.
Truth applications:
  1. Why let your sins or the sins of others define you?  Let forgiveness define you - "Go and sin no more."
  2. If an infinite mind can choose not to remember, how much easier is it for a finite mind to choose not to remember?  Learn to replace thoughts about what you have forgiven with thoughts about what is true, lovely, pure and holy.
  3.  Live with the expectancy of forgiveness - be quick to forgive and move on - do not keep a list of offenses going in your mind - how else do you want me to say it?
Forgiveness is a powerful tool.  As sinners, we are hopeless without forgiveness.  So here's how forgiveness works - there is an offense which demands a price be paid.  In our case, the offense was sin against a holy God which required His wrath to be poured out on the offender. That's how bad the offense is.

When forgiveness is extended, it doesn't mean the price is set aside.  It means the price has been paid.  In our case, again, Jesus stepped in and bore the wrath of God on our behalf.  He paid the price.  We all agree on this fact and we're pretty thankful for it, right?  The Father separates us from our sin, chooses to remember them no more and in His goodness, continues to forgive us when we sin, even after salvation.

So let's move this into our realm, as far as human to human relationships.

When we pay off our debts financially, they are deemed "forgiven." Because the debt is paid, it is wiped from our account.  We have a clean slate.  Let's say you borrow money from someone and you can't pay it back. They can choose to forgive the debt and wipe your account clean, but someone still paid for that debt - the lender, right?  In that case, forgiveness is costly for the lender.

So when someone hurts us, lies about us, cheats on us, abuses us, slanders us, sins against us, and they come and ask forgiveness, how exactly is their debt paid?  Sometimes restitution is involved - if you were lied about, the truth can be told.  But many times restitution is not possible.  Sometimes the hurt is there and to grant forgiveness means that you are not going to receive payment, right?  

Well, not exactly.

When you choose to forgive someone the way God has forgiven you, you are choosing to bear the price for that sin, just like He did.  You are choosing to pay that price by wiping the account clean.  You bear the weight of what was done to you, you wrestle with it and you put it away from you. This is not a simple process - you have to choose to remember it no more and when your mind goes to the offense, you have to exchange it with another thought.  It is a difficult process but it is a godly discipline to imitate the Father, bear the offense and put it from you.

Now, as difficult as that is, most people just simply don't forgive like that.  They keep a list of offenses and though they claim to forgive, when they need that list to make a point, they pull it from their back pocket and start firing.  They may not talk with the offender about it, but they tell others about it.  And worse than that, they allow the offense to marinate in their own minds, so that the offense is never far away. 

Praise the Lord, this is not what God does and this is not what we are called to do. This kind of forgiveness is of the world and it only produces bitterness.  True forgiveness removes the offense, does not share the offense with others and refuses to dwell on it in their own mind.  A three part contract that produces godly restoration and forgiveness.

One final point - God is good and ready to forgive. That's what our verse above says.  We are to live prepared to forgive. When repentance comes, we will easily be able to extend it.  Sometimes fellowship is broken because of a lack of repentance and that consequence is often times a result of the sin, but it is our responsibility to live with a spirit of repentance that restores quickly.  This is seen in the goodness of God and is a godly trait to develop in your own life.

Don't keep a long list, friends.  Be quick to forgive and see what God will do in your life!

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