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Forgiveness as a Must in Life & Service

Years and years ago, while I was attending North Central Bible College in the middle of a blizzard, a few friends came home with me to my nearby suburban home for a weekend getaway. My dad, who owned his own car repair shop, let us use his old four-wheel drive vehicle to run to town for food and snacks before the blizzard really shut us all in.

We lived out in the country a bit, but since we were Minnesotans, we were quite confident we could manage the drive to town without much trouble. Four of us loaded up the old Scout and headed for town. The wind and snow were beginning to really intensify. I remember having to open my window and try to clear off the wipers while driving just to keep them from freezing up which was quite a trick. For 19- and 20-year-olds, this was a cool (pardon the pun) adventure until the Scout could no longer function. Snow and ice built up so fast and so furiously that finally it stopped. We were stranded out in the hazardous blizzard.

Our only option was to walk to a nearby house and ask for help. Thankfully, kind neighbors let us in to call for help. I enjoyed the single greatest cup of hot coffee of my lifetime (I hated coffee at the time) while waiting for my dad to come and rescue us.

Perhaps you are wondering what blizzards have to do with forgiveness? Consider Jesus words, ‘Father forgive them for they know not’ is far more salient than we realize.

A person acts out—porn, lies, withdraws, screams at you, insults you, shops, any challenging, hurt or fear producing, behavior— and requires forgiveness. ‘Requires’ is not an overstatement. Without forgiveness, we can’t move forward—stuck out in the cold.

Think of some challenging trip in a fierce snowstorm. A trip you must make just to get home. The windshield keeps icing, and the defroster isn’t keeping up. To see, in order to just keep moving forward on the right path, it becomes required to stop and get out and clean the windshield. It becomes a frustrating and at times painful event in subzero, blizzard conditions. Yet is a must if you desire to get home. Forgiveness is that very event, over and over, so you both can continue forward.

What leads one to act out is not always attributed to a simple, being bad. It is more fully a product of climate to which is not always in our control. But what is required of us to get through is forgiveness—being forgiven and forgiving.

Jesus, with these famous, yet difficult words, acknowledged this. He knew, our reactions are way more a product of a long, developed climate in our hearts, minds, and relationships. I’m not offering an excuse for our bad behavior. I’m suggesting we act badly, to the point we need forgiveness to go forward. Accepting this as a reality will help you understand how forgiveness is a requirement to keep forward progress in life.

Even being the perpetrated-on person, one can remain stuck in a chilled, painful storm if not willing to stop and press directly into the pain and clear the vision, remove the ice with forgiveness. No, it isn’t a one-time event. It requires multiple, cold stops with more forgiveness. There are even moments when you have no choice but to seek help from a stranger or wait for a loved one to help.

Perhaps an important point is the fact that we are all sinners. We can claim we all should have known better, and it would often be true, yet it is also true that we continue to sin against each other and God. Jesus set the ultimate requirement for not only redemption but abundant life going forward. ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’

We not only need forgiveness because we are all sinners. We also need to forgive if we want to make it through the cold realities of our world. Then an only then can we experience the warmth of loving relationship both with God Himself and with each other.



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