You Are Forgiven
“I believe in…the forgiveness of sins,“ – The Apostles’ Creed
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
What do you do when someone wrongs you?
Sin is a big problem. Sin isn’t just about making poor choices or not doing the right thing. It is rebellion against God. It breaks our relationship with God. It breaks our relationships with each other. It’s a serious thing and it needs to be dealt with.
I remember an incident from a couple of years ago. I was cooking dinner and my two kids were playing in the living room. My daughter, Kaylee, was building a train track with a bridge out of blocks while my son, Eli (2 at the time), was bouncing from one toy to the next. At one point Eli decided he wanted to build a tower with the blocks. So, he walked over to Kaylee’s bridge, knocked it over, and grabbed the block he wanted.
As you might expect, my daughter was not happy with that. I went over to them from the kitchen and saw the destruction. Kaylee told me what happened. So, I went to Eli and told him what he had done was wrong. He shouldn’t just take something someone else was using and shouldn’t have knocked the bridge over.
I told him to tell Kaylee he was sorry and give the block back to her. He gave her the block and said, “Sorry Kaylee.” Kaylee responded, “That’s OK.”
No, That’s Not OK!
I hear that phrase all the time these days. Someone wrongs someone else. They apologize and the response of the person who was wronged is, “That’s OK.” or something similar. I understand the sentiment, but the truth is it’s not OK. Damage was done. Someone was hurt. That’s not OK.
I understand that “That’s OK” is just a colloquialism and I don’t think my daughter or anyone else is doing anything wrong to say that nor do they intend to minimize sin. However, that is essentially what’s happening. We make it as though sin is not so big a deal.
We do this in other ways in our current culture as well. We call sin a “mistake” or a “poor choice.” I’ve seen several celebrities and politicians apologize and try to distance themselves from their own wrongdoing by saying, “That’s not who I really am.” Um…Actually…it is.
God Didn’t Excuse Sin. He Paid The Consequence.
God doesn’t minimize sin. He treats it very seriously. In fact, He treats it so seriously that He gave the life of His own beloved Son because of it. He didn’t excuse it. He didn’t say, “Don’t worry about it.” He bled for it. By doing so, He removes our sin from us, completely.
When we say we believe in the forgiveness of sins, we acknowledge the seriousness of our sin, but also claim the promise that, out of God’s great mercy, our sin is gone. We have been purified by the grace of Jesus Christ. With our sin removed, we are once again made right with God. Our relationship has been restored.
We Also Forgive
Now, having been forgiven of so much, we can forgive each other. We can acknowledge the seriousness of the wrongdoing and let the other person know we forgive them. When we sin against someone else, we can confess our sin and receive the comfort of their forgiveness.
This is a great gift of God that heals wounds and restores relationships. It can transform people and bring peace not only to the one who has done wrong but the one who has been wronged.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s time to buck culture a bit. Next time someone wrongs you and confesses, rather than saying, “That’s OK,” try saying, “I forgive you.”
I confess that I have not only sinned against you, but my heart is prone to sin. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending Your Son to die for me. Please forgive me and help me to forgive those who sin against me, just as you have forgiven me.
In Christ’s Service,