Monday, January 25, 2010

The Hardest Words To Say.

You’re doing the right thing. A sacrificial thing. Saving innocent lives. Putting yourself in danger for it. And suddenly, your sacrifice becomes enough evidence to convict you to a concentration camp. While there, you watch your sister weaken and eventually die. When you are finally freed, you learn that your father also passed away and that you are the only surviving family member.

”Forgiving Others” begins with a reference to the life of Corrie ten Boom. Two years after Corrie was released from the concentration camp, she spoke at a church in Munich. The message she brought was on God’s forgiveness.

After she left the stage, a man approached her. “You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk. I was a guard there,” he said. “But since that time I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Will you forgive me?”

Corrie stared at his extended hand. The minutes ticked by as she wrestled with the most difficult decision she’d ever had to face. How could she possibly forgive him?

In order to do it—and really mean it from the bottom of her heart—she would have to understand the true meaning of forgiveness. And what exactly is that?

Forgiveness is the dismissing of a debt.

In the New Testament, the Greek noun aphesis denotes a “dismissal” or “release”. So….

--When you grant forgiveness, you dismiss the debt owed to you.

--When you grant forgiveness, you dismiss the debt from your thoughts.

Forgiveness is dismissing your demand that others owe you something. Especially when….

--They fail to meet your expectations.

--They fail to keep a promise.

--They fail to treat you justly.

Forgiveness is dismissing, canceling, or setting someone free from the consequences of falling short of God’s standard.

--The standard of God is perfection, yet we all have sinned.

--The penalty for our sin is spiritual death.

--That penalty for our sin (our debt) was paid by Jesus through His sacrificial death on the cross.

Corrie had a huge task before her. Was it possible to speak those three words—“I forgive you”—and turn to walk away, knowing it was the truth?

Her question is also mine.  But in the back of my mind—and hers, we already know the answer.


Justin Scott said...

Corrie's story is incredibly full of grace and hope as I'm sure yours will be/already is.

Honesty inspires others to also be honest about weaknesses. Thanks for sharing.

bondChristian said...

"Forgiveness is dismissing your demand that others owe you something."

Point on. Farewell to rights. I'd never seen it from a forgiveness side. Thank you.

-Marshall Jones Jr.