Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. In today’’s broadcast, we offer insight into the relationship between grace and forgiveness
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Grace and Forgiveness
"Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 12
Brothers and sisters, in our walk through the valleys of this life, we are bound to create disharmony in our relationships. Such situations require forgiveness to restore the harmony that was shattered by the off-key note of offense either by the recipient or the perpetrator. Such maladjustments create distortions of the love bond that holds us together. But sometimes the hurt cuts so deep that the recipient cannot find the wherewithal to forgive the perpetrator, while the perpetrator may be buried under so much pride that he cannot find his way out. Sometimes selfish pride will not allow the person to extend forgiveness even when the perpetrator repents, sincerely regrets his misdeeds. We all know of situations where people go to their graves without extending or receiving forgiveness.
The Father has commanded us to forgive those who trespass against us even as we seek forgiveness for our trespasses. It seems harder to extend forgiveness than to receive it, but such is not the case because extending forgiveness and receiving forgiveness are linked. We cannot experience the consciousness of forgiveness unless we forgive. Forgiveness is a spiritual quality and, like love, must be extended in order to receive it. It does not appear real in our experience unless we allow for its dual nature to function: extension and reception.
The degree to which we are able to forgive is the same degree to which we are willing to abide by the Father’’s will. In essence, the failure to forgive is an act of rebellion against the Father’’s law of love. No peace can exist in the mind and the soul of one who does not forgive. It is a miserable state in which to live. It is like being weighed down with an almost unbearable weight while trying to move forward. The failure to abide by the Father’’s will is the reason for the failure to gain the necessary insight that will yield a plane of understanding that allows one to see the childish nature of someone who intentionally offends. We don’’t hold children accountable for things they do out of ignorance. Even so, our love for them is so great that it is no strain on us to forgive them. Love, being the greatest of spiritual reality, invariably contains mercy and forgiveness.
We must never forget that we are incomplete creatures. Until we acquire completeness, we are going to inadvertently and sometimes deliberately--because of pride and envy——commit acts that require forgiveness. But sometimes, we find that even though we have forgiven the person for the transgression, the memory remains in our minds. We know that even though we have no desire to recall a memory of being wronged or doing wrong to another, sometimes memories are triggered by a host of influences. And just as repentance of wrongdoing does not change the time-space consequences of what was done, neither does forgiveness change the memory of what was done. Perhaps as long as we remain time-space creatures, the memory of these events may be a good thing. If we are transgressors, this memory will remind us not to commit such an act again; if we are transgressed against, such memories should help us to forgive those who have transgressed against us. This is hard to bear at times, but grace removes the sting. Grace compensates us for the difference between what is required of us and what we are actually able to do. What we fail to forget in time will be completely erased in eternity.
Sometimes in our experiences, we commit wrongs that are so horrible to our conscience, so devastating when we realize what we have done, that we feel like we are outside the boundaries of forgiveness. We recently saw a movie called, "Redemption." This movie involved a man who as a teenager had been involved in a robbery. While robbing a store he shot and killed a clerk. The man was apprehended, tried, and sentenced to prison. During his stay, he came to recognize the gravity of his crime and felt that his punishment was proper. In due time, because of good behavior and because of remorse over his misdeeds, he was paroled.
After getting out of prison, he went to the city where the murdered clerk had lived to try and find the clerk’’s sister. He wanted to try to make it up to her, to seek forgiveness, to be cleansed of the stain on his soul. He finally located the sister who had a rebellious teenage son. The teen had become involved in a gang conflict and was shot, though he survived. Eventually the murderer met the sister and began a relationship with her. After her son was shot, she implored the murderer to talk to her son about his gang activities. The son was determined to "pay back" the guy who had shot him. As this story unfolded, it came to a climax when the teenager attempted to shoot the guy who shot him.
The murderer got involved in the attempt and wrestled with the teenager to keep him from shooting the guy who shot him. In the process of wrestling with him, the guy got away, and the murderer was shot himself. The teenager’’s mother discovered what had happened. In the process, the murderer revealed that he had killed her brother, the clerk. He was taken to the hospital where he was saved. The sister of the murdered brother came to him in the hospital room when he was stabilized. She told him that she was there for one reason only--to see if he was going to be alright. He wanted to know if he could see her again. She refused his request, saying that she never wanted to see him or hear from him again. She said that this city was where she lived, and that he could choose to live in any city but this one. She then left his hospital room. After he got out of the hospital, he left the city for parts unknown, having failed to gain the forgiveness that he so desperately sought.
Although we may feel that what we have done is unforgivable, and the persons involved may not find it in their hearts to forgive, the grace and mercy of the heavenly Father knows no boundaries. Ponder these merciful words proclaimed by Isaiah, speaking for the heavenly Father: "`Come now and let us reason together,’’ saith the Lord. ‘‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’’" The Father knows our frame. He knows that we are dust. And though the memory of our misdeeds may linger, they carry no weight of damnation. Jesus said that if we repent of our misdeeds, we are forgiven and therefore our consciences should remain void of offense. Ponder the ““Parable of the Prodigal Son." And believe!
This concludes today's message on understanding the relationship between grace and forgiveness. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.