Monday, August 15, 2011

Forgiveness Only Christ can Offer

47Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.  48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.  49And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? -Luke 7:47-49 (KJV) 

Several years ago at the close of a Sunday morning worship service a woman came forward and asked me if she might share a prayer request with the congregation.  I consented and the woman began to confess of a sin she had committed.  She wept and told of her struggle to overcome, the weight of her guilt, and her need for forgiveness.  As she spoke I could sense the discomfort of the congregation.  I too found myself feeling uncomfortable as this woman so openly bore her soul.  After she spoke I lead in prayer and asked the Lord to show her His grace and forgiveness.  I prayed also that we would offer the same forgiveness.  Following the service the woman was assured by many that she was indeed forgiven. 

The event made me think about the time a woman who had lived a sinful life interrupted the dinner party Jesus was attending.  Imagine the discomfort the guests felt as the woman sought the forgiveness which only Christ could offer.  Jesus assured her that her sins, though many, were indeed forgiven.  It was a dinner party not to be forgotten. 

Sometimes we as followers of Christ need to be shaken up a little.  We need reminded of the real struggles countless people are experiencing every day.  The world is composed of people, and as such we are prone to mistakes, flaws, and failures.  As one person so aptly put it, “There was only one perfect man, and they crucified Him.”  Sometimes these folks will interrupt our lives and cause us discomfort with the sheer magnitude of the sins they are carrying.  When they seek to unburden themselves will we respond like Jesus, with love, mercy, compassion, and grace?  Our faith in the Lord Jesus compels us to do just that. 

The hurting, broken, wounded, and afflicted are all around us.  Let us be about the work of sharing with them the love of the One who is capable of providing the forgiveness they need.  Bring them to Jesus.  He is able to heal, forgive, and give them a brand new start.  He did so for you and me, and He will do so others. 

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