August 10, 2023
Our theme this year is Forgiven, and our verse for the year is Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” This is a powerful verse.
Forgiveness is at the core of the cross. It is why Jesus had to die for us. We need for Him to wash away our sins and be forgiven so that we can boldly come before the Throne of Grace! There are so many verses that tell us that we are forgiven, such as 1 John 2:12, Col 2:13, Eph 1:7, and Rom 4:7.
There is great guilt in our culture, which is one of the primary reasons for stress and depression, but we can take great comfort in knowing that our guilt is forgiven. Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress dropped his burden that the world had placed upon his back, and so can we. Jesus tells us in Matt 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This is what being forgiven means.
The Scriptures do add an often forgotten qualification to being forgiven, and that is we must forgive others to be forgiven. See Matt 6:12-15, Mark 11:25-26, Luke 6:37-38, and Col 3:12-13. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he must forgive, Jesus responded with “7 x 70,” which means there is no limit. Jesus goes on to tell the parable about a man who begged to be forgiven a lifetime’s worth of wages but then did not forgive a day’s wage. The parable ends with the man who failed to forgive being thrown in prison and Jesus stating, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt 8:35).
We are not very good at forgiving others because we do not understand that it is a two-way transaction. We often tell someone that we are sorry, but this is not forgiveness. We must ask for forgiveness from the person whom we have sinned against, and that person must forgive us.
This is what we will be working on at school this year. Please join us in being kind and tenderhearted and forgiving one another.
Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”