“We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace…”—Ephesians 1:7 (ESV).
Has someone ever wronged you and then later came to ask for forgiveness? The world is drunk on pride, but a few individuals are willing to tie a rope around that pride and go to seek forgiveness from the persons they have wronged.
And have you ever wronged that very person the second or third or tenth time and went back to ask for forgiveness, apparently because it may save your marriage? What happens when repeat offenders go seek forgiveness from the people they have wronged is similar for all people: Indians, Pygmies, Africans, Chinese, and even Whites.
In my experience, what I normally do when a repeat offender comes to me so that he or she may ‘mend the broken fence’ is one kind of response. I start by reminding them how I have forgiven them before. I also assure them that this kind of mercy so quickly runs out.
Perhaps you identify with me. This may be your experience as well, that is, if you are honest to admit it. We like to use forgiveness to our advantage, particularly to control other people. You have heard statements like: “This is the last time I am extending mercy to you” or “you do this again, I will never forgive you.”
Humans are known for taking good things—gifts from God—and then craft machetes and hacksaws out of them. We love leverage, and for us any tool will do the job.
God, on the other hand, thinks about forgiveness differently. I have for the past two weeks been thinking about God’s way of forgiving and one image has clung to my heart ever since. It is a beautiful picture of God’s forgiveness.
I have been thinking about a chalkboard, on which the word ‘sin’ is written in bold letters. And I have also been thinking about an eraser—a new and perfect one—which is brought to erase the word ‘sin’.
After the word has been erased, I have also been thinking about someone who is invited into the room to read the word on the chalkboard. If they are in their right state of mind, they will answer you with a question: “which word?”
Jesus’ blood is the eraser that erases our sin from the chalkboard of our consciousness. The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied about the New Covenant which would replace the Old one. Through him, God says: “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:34b, ESV).” To God, forgetting is what it means to forgive.
God, in Jesus Christ, sent the Bookkeeper into early retirement and closed the Bookkeeping Department once and for all. All the records were burnt at the public square and the ashes carried away by winds into oblivion. In Jesus, your sins and mine are not just covered; they are washed away into God’s forgotten memory.
You stand before God pure and blameless because of Jesus’ work for you. As someone before me has said, “The sins we cannot forget, God cannot remember.”
That is your Lifeline, AMEN.