And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten journey to Easter. A reoccurring Easter Preparation or Lenten theme is forgiveness. We remember the words of Jesus from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as an invitation to receive and extend forgiveness.
Perhaps your heart has a hard time embracing forgiveness. We have all been hurt or offended by someone in our lives, and the thought of forgiving them seems like an impossible task. Well, guess what? You’re right. It is an impossible task on your own. It is only through participation in the forgiveness that has already been done by God that we are able to forgive. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he was speaking of forgiveness as well. God’s forgiveness is unconditional.
When the Father sent his one and only Son to reconcile us and bring us back into a relationship with him, Jesus took full responsibility for all our faults, failures, and sin and dealt with them on the cross, once and for all! It’s a done deal and you had absolutely nothing to do with it. There is no condemnation. There is no record of wrongs. There is only mercy, grace, and love.
As we allow these revelations to take deep root within our souls, we begin to enjoy God and revel in his sheer goodness. When we are able to “live” in the reality of the Father’s forgiveness and acceptance in Christ, our hearts are able to relax and extend grace and forgiveness to others.
Merciful God, help me experience the full weight of grace and forgiveness in my heart, so much that it simply and easily radiates out of my very being to those around me. Amen.