GodReflection: News Flash—We Inherited God’s DNA
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalms 86:5 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
A great gift in life was the opportunity of fulltime church work. By far the majority of my time was spent with longtime believers as I carried out my God given talents in creating and administration.
I spent—probably too much of—my awake time with people in the orbit of the church. Thus, ninety-nine-point nine percent of those I’ve offended and those who have shot darts at me are fellow Christians.
One of my biggest struggles has been the battle within to offer forgiveness to the disagreeable folks who are loved by God and are my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
A beautiful painting that stands out in Scripture is the exquisite hues, tones and colors that bring to life the portrait of Forgiver God.
He is the Eternal One who pardons my sin, forgives my transgression and delights to show mercy (Micah 7:18). He is the Holy One who offers to redeem and to forgive through His rich and costly grace (Ephesians 1:7).
He is the Almighty One who teaches I must forgive others so that He can forgive me (Mark 11:25). He is the Loving One who delights as He gifts the words, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).
Forgiveness is an essential ingredient in God’s DNA.
Here is my question.
Do I have in the depths of my soul God’s exact same capability to forgive?
Can God really expect me to forgive and offer to my hurtful offenders the same carte blanc He offers me?
Can I indeed offer a new and clean start to those I forgive?
I often encounter an unsuspected ambush from an old wrong I had forgiven. Where did that come from?
When I least expect, the old laceration starts to seep just underneath the scar. Even though I had forgiven, I find myself applying forgiveness anew to my offender for an old wound. It makes me wonder if there is more to Jesus’ Matthew 18 reply to Peter than I normally take at face value.
Forgiveness may need to be offered seventy-seven time or as often as needed for the same offence.
Is it possible that Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” has yet a deeper meaning?
Could it be that I need to stand ready to listen to Jesus tell me to forgive a specific offence if needed, “Not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Might it be that while on my earth trek I will never reach the perfection of total and complete forgiveness of others in the same way that God offers me total forgiveness?
Might it just be that is something I grow toward?
Once, over a cup of coffee with a close friend I rehearsed the names of my perceived betrayers—my “Christian enemies.” It occurred to me that in the next reality God in His Holy Humor will probably make us all neighbors.
And—since they will be perfect and I too will experience perfection—none of us will mind. In fact, we will have some fantastic block parties.
Here is what I think at this moment.
No, I am not God. No, I cannot forgive as completely as does my Heavenly Father. Yes, I can and should offer forgiveness. Yes, to offer a fellow traveler forgiveness may have to occur multiple times in my own mind. But, maybe that is ok as long as I am willing to repeat the offer.
Perhaps, I possess some of God’s DNA on this one but like other inherited traits not the full measure.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Am I Wired To Forgive?