I have long pondered how one who says he believes in Jesus can also say he does not know how to forgive. For the Lord Jesus taught that his Father in Heaven would not forgive men their sins unless those men forgave other men their sins toward them.
Recently I read the fictional trilogy, Flight From Stonewycke, by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. In the story an old man named Elijah spoke to a younger man, ” …all people, Dermott, must humbly come to the point of being able to forgive others the wrongs they have done them, forgive themselves for their own sin, and even forgive God for what we perceive as the cruel hand of fate working against us….Elijah paused and looked intently at the his young friend. It is this forgiveness which lies at the root of repentance and opens the way for the life He would give us.”
What grabbed me most was the well articulated thought that forgiveness is the root of the repentance that leads to the gift of LIFE EVERLASTING.
Of what must we repent? Certainly, our rights, including our right to demand justice, our right to revenge, our right to withhold mercy and forgiveness. Giving these rights up is easier when we realize our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, when we realize, that no matter how good we are, we still fall short of God’s Glory, his standard of holiness.
Repentance leads to death, our lives are nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ. We give up own lives with all our rights, in order that He might rise again in us with his new life. My life for his. Your life for his.
In his book, The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee says, “We think of the Christian life as a ‘changed life’ but it is not that. What God offers us is an ‘exchanged life’, a ‘substituted life’, and Christ is our Substitute within.”
Christ forgives. If Christ lives in me, then I forgive. For the life I live is no longer my own but his. Praise God.