13Because we broke God’s laws, we owed a debt – a debt that listed all the rules we failed to follow. But God forgave us of that debt. He took it away and nailed it to the cross.
I read this verse over and over again, because it has such good news for me. All the mistakes I’ve made are deleted as if they’ve never even happened. The punishment for my sin disappears completely. My dead self is woken up, made to come alive and new life fills my innermost being. Now my life goes full speed ahead. Now I can face life head-on and drive forward at full speed, laughing as I go, because now … God forgave us of that debt.
But while repeatedly reading this life-giving verse, I realise that a life of forgiveness supposes that you and I will only be really free when we also share that forgiveness with the people around us. It’s so easy to receive forgiveness, but so difficult to share it, especially with those who do not deserve it at all. Those people who hurt us with no compunction. But, actually, it is they who need it most, because you see, they deserve it as little as we deserve Christ’s forgiveness.
But it is not that easy.
It wasn’t easy for Marthie either:
A few years ago I met some people. With God’s grace, it was my privilege to lead them to Jesus. We grew to love one another. They became like my own children.
Inexplicably, the woman turned against me later on. I received the most terrible text messages from her. And then she told me about all the lies she and another woman told our pastor about me. They wanted to destroy my ministry.
I struggled with this for a long time.
The betrayal left deep scars, but eventually, with strength from above, I was able to absolve and forgive them. I just prayed for them.
Last year, both women came to me separately, asking for forgiveness.
Then one woman’s husband fell seriously ill. His life was literally hanging on a thread. The doctors prepared her for the worst.
One evening there was a knock on my door. It was that man’s wife. She fell into my arms, crying from fear and need on my shoulder. It was my privilege to support them spiritually in the following months and to carry them with my prayers.
At the time when she became reconciled with me, some people asked how I could forgive her after all that she had done to me. But the Holy spirit had guided me to do the right thing.
Today I can see God’s hand in it.
An ordinary tale about a lot of hurt caused and taking a lot of courage, but which had an enormous impact in God’s Kingdom. God forgave us. Now we have to complete the circle and share the forgiveness. It is not easy, but indeed possible with help from the Holy Spirit.
What do you do with God’s forgiveness?
With whom do you have to share it?
Father, thank you for your forgiveness and for not holding anything against me. Help me to follow your example in forgiving others who hurt me. I know it is possible with your help. In the name of Jesus. Amen.