“Son, I don’t want anything to do with you!” These are the most devastating words a son can hear. It’s worse when the father says nothing, but simply turns his back and walks away. Jesus faced this rejection from His Father as He breathed out His life on the cross.
‘A gentle response defuses anger.’ – Proverbs 15:1 MSG
Motivated by love, God provided a way for our sins to be forgiven: He sent Jesus to be our Savior. When we trust in the Lord’s substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf, we receive the gift of forgiveness.
Before placing faith in Christ, we were dead in our sins and objects of divine wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). But our merciful heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus to redeem us. At the cross, the Savior took our sins upon Himself and experienced God’s fury for our sake. His death secured a pardon for us; there was nothing we ourselves could do to acquire God’s acceptance. We are saved by grace—through faith in Christ and what He accomplished (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is a free gift from the Father.
God’s will is that we, as forgiven people, show mercy to those who wrong us—to the same degree that He forgave us in Christ. But the human tendency is to attach conditions when extending mercy. We think, I will forgive you only if you apologize. Or, You must fix the problem, and then I’ll stop being angry. Or even, You must make restitution before I will let this go. That’s not what our Savior did. Romans 5:8 expresses it this way: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Depending on how much hurt we’ve experienced, we may require time and healing before we can truly forgive. But we are to remember that showing mercy is God’s will. We’re called to pardon those who have caused us pain. Through reliance on God’s Spirit, we can become Christlike and forgive.
Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 51-52