"I am your child. I quit trying to MAKE myself presentable to you and instead trust that I AM presentable to you despite all of the things that are just parts of a sinful nature around me. I move on in that passage and believe, 'if I confess my sin, you are faithful and just and will purify me and forgive me' because again, you only see your child here, and I need not be plagued by sin OR guilt. I mean is not guilt the actual issue here? Not sin. I mean sin is just inevitable, but what IS of choice by me is whether I will allow guilt to plague me and keep me from seeing myself as your child instead of seeing myself as this horrible person. You're so much quicker to forgive me than I am to forgive myself.
But why Acts 2:38: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins." Why Acts 17:30: "IN the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." So why repent if God has already forgiven our transgressions, forgotten our sins and thrown them as far as the east is from the west? The answer lies in 2 Corinthians chapter 7. Verses 9-11 read, "yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and LEAVES NO REGRET...see what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, WHAT LONGING, WHAT CONCERN...AT EVERY POINT YOU HAVE PROVED YOURSELVES TO BE INNOCENT IN THIS MATTER."
This passage presents to us how important our repentance...our "Godly sorrow" is. It shows us that repentance "leaves no regret." It proves and assures that our being forgiven was not in void. Our repentance proves that we are not just taking advantage of and milking the grace we are given. It shows our "longing, our concern." Our repentance shows that the relationship is important enough for us to eagerly pursue even through our sorrowful repentance. Only then are we able to be proved innocent "at every point."
FORGIVENESS FORGETS FAULT
REPENTANCE REPAIRS RELATIONSHIP
Anger is selfishwhich is why Jesus said to pray for your enemies
When you pray for someone, you cannot focus on yourself
Forgiveness is releasing yourself of the selfishness of anger
There is a story of a moment when a man named Rich had been in an argument with a friend that ended in an abrupt bitterness. The story would have it that Rich, later that evening, would show up at the friends house and begin mowing his lawn. It was an action of humility and service that would be remembered by that lifelong friend long after Rich had passed away. "LOVE your enemies! DO good to those who hate you. BLESS those who curse you. PRAY for those who hurt you. LOVE your enemies! DO good to them. LEND to them without expecting." - Luke 6:27-28, 35
Its amazing how many of these are intentional actions Jesus commanded of us regarding our enemies. It doesn't say, "Try to forget everything in your heart." "Try to have pleasant thoughts about them and hope that something happens for the good somewhere down the line." "Try to have a change of heart and leave it at that." "Listen to a good sermon and think, 'Yeah, that would be nice.'" No! These are all very intentional and quite tangible actions we are told to do for our enemies. Can you imagine the love and reconciliation that would happen between our enemies and us if we would stop thinking, planning, having conferences and talks, and started LOVING, DOING, BLESSING, PRAYING, AND LENDING to our enemies?
The world could be a different place. Our city could be a different place. Our neighborhood could be a different place. Our church could be a different place. Our home could be a different place. Our own heart, and the relationship with the enemy within, could be a different place.
God my God, When I look at those who have hurt me or have hurt someone close to me, teach me to see where that person has been hurt. Speak to my heart that I may see the hurtful person in light of a hurting person who now has no idea that they are in need of the forgiveness and compassion I would demand in my own hurt.
Where has that person been hurt? What has hurt them so badly that they would do these things; that they would say things about me or someone close to me? What has hurt them so badly that they would live like this? Break my heart for the hurting people in my life, even if those people have hurt me or someone close to me.
Please teach me this compassion and forgiveness, that I might speak with Jesus the prayer, 'Abba, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing.'
- St. PC of the Hurtful