There are certain Christian principles often talked about in the New Testament, that repeat themselves over and over again. As repetitive as they might be the truth doesn’t ever change and one of those principles happens to be forgiveness.

And we all know, this one is particularly hard to internalize and certainly almost impossible to do. Jesus, time and again, reminds and sometimes admonishes His disciples that although the laws of the Father are crystal clear, God is always receptive to a repentant heart.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

I have sometimes heard others refer to the Almighty as a God of another chance, rather than the God of a second chance. And all I have to say about that is hallelujah! I don’t know about you. But I blew my second chance a long time ago.

I am told to take heed of the fact that the whole point of Jesus’ crucifixion was to forgive us our sins and thereby free us from the notion that somehow, we could earn our way into God’s good graces.

Through Christ’s sacrifice, we have a blood-bought remedy for all that ails us.

“In Him, we have redemption through blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7)

When you look at it this way, it appears that forgiveness is really a focal point that deserves extra study for those of us who call ourselves Christian. You see even though Jesus fulfilled the promise of the Old Testament, he also brought mercy to a whole new level.

It seems to me then that we too have an obligation to conduct ourselves at least in the spirit of this thing called forgiveness. “…Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

We must then exhibit mercy and forgiveness in our own lives if we are to exemplify the challenge of living a life based on Christian principles.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

This is that “turn the other cheek stuff.” And you know what? It’s hard, extremely hard. We don’t seem to be built not to hold grudges, or, to not seek revenge; you know the “old forgive but never forget game.”

It is so much easier to play by the ‘eye for an eye’ rules, isn’t it? I kind of understand Jesus when He said “…Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…” (John 8:7)

We often walk around with rocks in our hands as well as in our hearts. It is the true believer who has come to know that life is easier to navigate when we really do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Yes, that’s right. I want to be done by people who will do me correctly. Do me in the name of God. Do me how you want to be done.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

We tend to complicate simple things. It can’t get any simpler than this. The road to heaven is traversed by the one who lets the stone fall from his hand. The road to hell is navigated by the one who throws it.

May God bless and keep you always.

(Photo: James A. Washington)

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