Forgiveness… a word we often hear, but often don’t want to hear. What does it mean to forgive? Why should we forgive?
Numbers 14:19-20 Please! Forgive the offense of this people according to the greatness of your grace, just as you have borne with this people from Egypt until now.” Adonai answered, “I have forgiven, as you have asked.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together. Even if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow;even if they are red as crimson, they will be like wool. (CJB)
Luke 17:3-4 Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Also, if seven times in one day he sins against you, and seven times he comes to you and says, ‘I repent,’ you are to forgive him.” (CJB)
Colossians 3:13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. (CJB)
If you notice in the picture, the young man is holding a sign that says, “Forgiveness.” However, on his t-shirt there is a sign that says, “I’m sorry.” Both of these aspects need to happen within the realm of forgiveness. At times we might not be able to receive forgiveness as we would like, and we must realize that God asks us to forgive no matter how the other person responds.
Israel is a key to understanding our Bible. Israel is a land that holds many insights into the Word of God. As I mentioned last week, they just celebrated Rosh Hashana, which is considered the “Jewish New Year.” Two days ago (Wednesday) the nation observed their most High Holy Day of the year, Yom Kippur. For those who have visited Israel during this time, you know that the whole country shuts down, even the airport. There are no automobiles, no stores open, no places to eat etc… Can you imagine the United States, Germany, or any other country being able to do this?
This is the day they have anticipated all year. This is the day they know their sins have been forgiven. This is the day they are released from all the wrongs they have committed. This is the day they can be released and walk forward in freedom because they have asked God to forgive them. Forgiveness… obviously an important part of God’s plan!
From the day of Rosh Hashana, they begin special prayers every day for 10 days. Our last several days in Israel we were awakened at 5 am when the shofar would sound in the small synagogue below our apartment. Then their “singing” of prayers would begin. During this time they ask God for forgiveness and ask family and friends for forgiveness. We have received texts and messages from others asking us to forgive them if they have done anything to hurt us. When handled properly, this can be a powerful time of year.
For those of us who believe that Jesus is our Messiah, we can be THANKFUL that He removed our sins when He died on the cross for us. We can walk in FREEDOM every day because HE has already removed our sins. We just have to BELIEVE!
This knowledge, however, does not give us the right to sin and choose to disobey. We all understand that yes, He has forgiven us, but we all know that we need to walk in RIGHTEOUSNESS because of this knowledge. We should DESIRE to walk in HIS ways and repent when we disobey.
So why would a “holiday” like Yom Kippur be important for those who follow Jesus? Because it can be a day of remembering what HE has done for us. It should be a day of THANKSGIVING for KNOWING that HE forgave our sins so many years ago and now desires a RELATIONSHIP with us. It should be a day that we REJOICE in the FREEDOM that we have because we have chosen to follow Him.
Yom Kippur has now passed. Have you taken the time to forgive those who have wronged you? Have you reached out to those you have hurt and asked them for forgiveness? Both of these things need to happen in order to walk in the LOVE and LIGHT He has blessed you with.
Will you take the time to reflect on forgiveness today? What do you need to do in order to be RELEASED into ALL that HE has called you to do?
When we come to the realization that forgiveness brings FREEDOM, than we can find REST in Him. We will RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.
Love and blessings,