PROVERBS 17:9: “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: What is the greatest Christmas gift you have ever received? What is the greatest Christmas gift you have ever given? When I think upon both of these questions, one thing comes rushing to my mind and heart – FORGIVENESS! When I think of the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice for my sin, and the wonder of His cleansing and forgiveness in my life, I realize that forgiveness is both the greatest gift I can give, as well as receive.
The holidays are filled with many challenges when it comes to forgiveness. We are forced to mix with people once a year that we otherwise are able to avoid. There are office parties, church parties, and of course the family gatherings. In all of these we are thrust into situations that remind us of past hurts and offenses. And it is here that we have a choice. What gift will I bring to these situations? Will I cover past transgressions with love, or will I rehearse them in my mind, and worse yet – with others, by rehearsing these offenses verbally?
How does God treat our past offenses against Him?
- “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalms 103:10-14 NKJV
God chooses not to remember our sin! As far as the east is from the west, so He has removed our transgressions from us. He has mercy and compassion upon us, and understands our weaknesses. And in the midst of all of this – HE LOVES US! And so, Jesus exhorts us to do the same.
- “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
Forgiveness is a two way street. Freely we have received, and we are called to freely give. This begins with understanding the enormity of the grace we have received, and allowing that grace to empower us to do the same. True love covers a multitude of sins, it does not rehears them. This is not something we can do in our own power and strength. Yet, it is something that we can do in the power of the Holy Spirit! It is in the context of forgiveness, mercy, and love that Jesus proclaims,
- “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 NKJV
Lord, throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays and celebrations, help me abide in Your amazing and abundant grace. Help me to remember and celebrate the wonderful and undeserved forgiveness and cleansing you have given me through faith in Jesus Christ. Let Your love undergird me, and in every situation, and with every person – let me offer the most wonderful Christmas present of all…
THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS!
In Jesus Name!