The more the preacher has ‘trembled’ at God’s Word himself (eg. Ezra 9.4; 10.3; Isa. 66.2, 5), and felts its authority upon his conscience and in his life, the more he will be able to preach it with authority to others.
Forgiveness is possible when the Holy Spirit works in our heart, directing our faith to the person and work of Christ, for the glory of God our Father – who forgave us and adopted us as his own.
Special thanks to Tammy H. who typed this week’s posts for me.
Forgiveness does not begin and end with the person who is forgiving, nor is its emphasis on how forgiveness can help me. Whatever benefit forgiveness may have to me personally, it is not about me – it is about us. It is about people created by God to live in relationship with him and one another. As such, we are in the depths of our identity lovers of people and restorers of broken relationships. We are indeed our brother’s keeper!
original emphasis, Alfred Poirier, The Peacemaking Pastor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 148-149.
When we call a person to forgive another who has offended him or her, we are not asking the offended person to minimize the extent to which the offender is responsible for his or her sin (“Well, everyone sins”) or to minimize the offense (“It was nothing”). True forgiveness is when the offended looks upon the offender and see the offender’s sin as justly deserving the wrath of God in light of God’s great holiness.
Christian forgiveness, then is granted from a position not of weakness but of true moral strength and clarity of vision. Because biblical forgiveness alone recognizes the heinousness of sin against a holy God, it alone understands the immensity of the gift given in uttering the words, “I forgive you.”
This gift, of course, is full payment for sin, which is exactly what the gospel declares that Christ has given us! The forgiveness that is won by Christ comes at the price of his death for real offense, for true guilt.
Christ has not dismissed sin; instead, he has paid its price in full.
original emphasis, Alfred Poirier, The Peacemaking Pastor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 147.
In our rush to forgive, we often fail to take note of the seriousness of the sin or offense committed. To that degree, we side more with the offender and neglect the person offended.
In our eagerness to settle disputes, we easily are tempted to settle for superficial repentance. We rush to make the offended party forgive without equally addressing the offender’s real offenses – the outstanding issues of justice that remain in making restitution – and without recognizing the gravity of the offender’s sin.
The effect of this process is the opposite of what we intended. We get a mere apology rather than a true confession of wrongdoing. We see the offender nodding to the idea of needing to change rather than taking concrete steps to recompense the one against whom he has sinned and alter the offender’s behavior.