The story has been told of a father and son in Spain who became angry and bitter towards each other. The son finally left home and ran away. The father began to search for him but was unable to find him anywhere. After months of frantically searching, the father came to the end of his resources and sat down sadly in a coffee shop. Suddenly he had an idea! He put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad said something like this: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the men’s clothes shop at 2pm on Friday. You are forgiven. I love you. Your father.” On Friday at 2pm, eight hundred Paco’s showed up! They were all looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
Forgiveness is a difficult topic to approach with people. Every one of us, at one time in our lives finds it difficult to even consider extending forgiveness to someone. We desperately crave receiving forgiveness from others. The difficulty behind extending forgiveness revolves around the idea that we are letting someone who has wronged us “off” without due punishment or that the act of forgiveness condones their actions. We feel the retribution they deserve has been glossed over.
The interesting aspect of our idea of forgiveness is that we so desperately crave God to forgive us, yet we are so reluctant to extend the act toward others. God’s mercy (the concept of not receiving the punishment deserved) is something we embrace because deep inside we know we are guilty and deserve to be punished. Yet God is so great in mercy He went to the greatest length to pay the debt for our sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The relationship between God and man, broken by sin, was bridged by Christ’s sacrificial act allowing for mankind to enter into a relationship with our loving heavenly Father. This great act of grace (God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense is freely extended to all who chose to receive God’s offer. The fact is those who have been forgiven by God are transformed into forgiving people. We are never more like Christ than when we forgive others.
Today as you consider pausing at noon to Bend-A-Knee in prayer, may you ask God to allow you to extend forgiveness to someone who may be entirely undeserving of such an act. Remember, you also have been forgiven while being undeserving of God’s forgiveness. When you extend forgiveness to others it will allow you to be released from the prison of unforgiveness. May your act of mercy toward another serve as a window through which the world glimpses the mercy of God.
Stay connected to God & to others