Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.

-Augustine

 

I am no scholar and neither do I pretend to be one, but I think that many times within the simplicity of living that I try to embrace I find that I stumble across things so easy to see I wonder how others so learned and smart fail to mention them more often. 

Maybe you feel the same way I do, or maybe you don’t—but either way take for instance the new findings of the scientific community here just recently which suggest that brain cancer may be linked to the usage of cell phones.  Hello!  I don’t know about you, but the first time I started using one  of those little devices (now that we are all addicted and can now no longer do without them)—the first thing   that came to my mind when I could feel a burning sensation on the side of my head after 2 minutes on the phone was—This can’t be too healthy.  It’s taken us this long to discover this?  Right.  And Barry Bonds never used HGH or steroids.  To even suggest that big business doesn’t somehow hide the truth when it’s convenient for them to do so—or instead pays others to keep it hidden for them—is about as naive and denialistic as it gets.  I know two influential families right here in the Detroit area who are sure the deaths of loved ones in which brain cancer was the culprit were linked to cell phones.  I haven’t tried to tell them they may be wrong—somehow,  I don’t doubt they are right.

More and more studies are finding that many of our problems may actually have ties to unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness can take on the form of stress, anxiety, quarreling, countless divorces, and broken relationships of all shapes and sizes.  These symptoms of unforgiveness are often accompanied by major health problems  and all kinds of destructive behaviors and conditions.  An inability or unwillingness to forgive someone certainly has powerful consequences.  I’m thinking it’s the number one cause of say— murder. 

Unforgiveness is an epidemic we fail to identify much of the time when we talk about the great perils of our day.  One thing remains though—whether God is willing to forgive us or not never needs to be in question.  His commitment to forgive remains constant and unchanged.  I ran across a story the other day that will help illustrate the beauty and simplicity of the forgiveness that only God can offer.  I’ll re-count it the best I can.

A little boy was visiting the Washington Monument with his family.  As the boy approached—he noticed a guard close by.  The boy peered up at the guard and mustered up the courage to ask Can I buy it?  The guard—appreciating the boy’s confidence—leaned over and asked How much do you have?  The boy reached into the bottom of his pocket and pulled out a quarter.  The guard hesitantly replied That’s not quite enough son to which the boy replied, I kind of thought you’d say that.  So the boy dug a bit deeper through his pockets and came up with another nine cents.  The guard looked the boy in the eyes and explained Son, you need to understand three things.  First, thirty-four cents is not enough, in fact, if you had $34 million it would still wouldn’t be enough to buy the Washington Monument.  Second, the Washington Monument is not for sale.  And third, if you are an American citizen, the Washington Monument already belongs to you.

And so it is with the forgiveness God so richly extends to us.  We can’t earn it—it’s not for sale—and it is already ours if we are in Christ Jesus.

 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.    (Colossians 1:13-14, ESV)   

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