TIP 4: Forgive

I’ve been more attentive to politics lately, and Jesse Jackson seems to be the conversation of choice.  People have said harsh things in response to his comments toward Senator Obama.  I’ve heard people say, “A preacher shouldn’t have said that.”  Others have even dug up his past, “And he shouldn’t have had a child outside of marriage, either.”  I’ve searched for compassion, for someone to forgive and restore Jesse Jackson, but to no avail.  Sadly, I think I’ve reached a principle: we tend to hold people hostage to their mistakes.

Everyone deserves forgiveness, and JESUS models it wonderfully in this text.  Judas, one of JESUS’ hand-picked disciples, betrayed HIM.  When Judas arrived with the militant host, JESUS could have exposed his confidential sin file.  HE could have dispatched legions of angels, and it probably would have felt good – to HIS flesh, that is.  But JESUS took the high road – HE called Judas a friend.  Wow!  HE forgave Judas to please HIS FATHER and exemplify love for us.

In a world conducive to bitterness, grudges, and retaliation, we must be compassionate and forgiving.  A friend shared a thought that concludes this email beautifully, “When you don’t forgive, you give GOD a license not to forgive you”  (thanks Hannah!)

… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12, New Living Translation)