Text: — Jeremiah 31:34 — No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD.“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” [NIV84]
The Big Idea: Lifestyle worshipers, we understand that forgiveness is truly and solely a divine act, that is, only God can forgive sins.
Have you heard statements like this: “God may forgive you, but I never will,” “Even God won’t forgive me,” and “God’s punishing me for my sin?” I know many struggle with the nuances of forgiveness, to be sure, especially the one that says, “To forgive is to forget,” but I’m sure if we honestly look at the above passage, we will see the clear connection between forgiveness and forgetfulness, at least from a divine perspective.
Lifestyle worshipers, if we understand that forgiveness is truly— dare I say—and solely a divine act, that is, only God can forgive sins, then it follows that He sets the standard for forgiveness—which is clearly beyond our feeble human ability. Bare with me a wee bit longer, please. I am saying that we cannot forgive anyone per se, but we can enter into the forgiveness that the Lord offers, especially that on the cross….
So when someone says, “I cannot forgive them,” they speak rightly, but when they say, “I will not forgive them,” we have an entirely different issue. (As one dear friend put it to me years ago, “Michael, you have a broken wanter.”) In order to forgive someone, anyone, including myself, I must enter into the Power of forgiveness the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated and offered on the cross. (Thus, I frame forgiveness as expressed in the prayer below.)
Again, forgiveness is a very, very big subject, and I am barely scratching the surface here. Suffice it to say, however, for me, the offer of forgiveness brings hope: hope of a new life, fresh start, new day, new beginning, second chance. Does this offer of forgiveness in the New Covenant do the same for you?
Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
— Matthew 26:27-28 (ISV)
— Colossians 3:13 (NIV84)
— Ephesians 4:32 (NIV84)
Heavenly Father, by the shed blood of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His power, I forgive ________ for ________. I ask You Lord Jesus Christ, to bear the consequences of their actions. Remove the pain and shame they have caused me. Be that part of my Life that has been damaged by _______. I release ________ into your hands. In Your Name, Amen.