Lenten Devotional, March 31: By Angela Spoede

In a sermon to His followers, Jesus instructed, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37, NIV). This makes forgiveness seem transactional somehow. We “buy” forgiveness for ourselves and our sins by forgiving others. It could leave the impression that we must attain some master-level ability to forgive if we wish to receive forgiveness. But the next verse illustrates the intent behind Jesus’ words: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38, NIV)

I sometimes wish God would intervene in my life with thunder and righteousness, immediately correcting the wrongs done to me by unjust or unkind people. In those times, it’s as if I have forgotten that my own actions, when viewed from the lens of eternity (or even from the view of my neighbor) fall short of God’s righteousness. I too have been unjust. I am, sometimes, unkind. I stand in need of forgiveness that could only be accomplished through the sacrifice of the cross. To receive it, I must recognize that the craziest thing about Jesus’ journey to the cross wasn’t the beatings, the thorns, or the jeers of the crowd, but Christ’s forgiveness—spoken with His last breaths and undertaken in the greatest demonstration of forgiveness and reconciliation the world has ever seen. Forgiveness, a good measure of it, pressed down and shaken together, abundant and overflowing, is ready to be poured out on us as soon as we are ready to receive it. These words are God’s invitation to us to walk in our Savior’s shoes, to be a conduit for His redeeming love. By letting His forgiveness pass through us to those who have wronged us, we ourselves benefit from it. Viewed through this verse, forgiveness is not a burden or obligation to be borne by Christians. It is a gift, not only to receive it, but to give it through God’s own power. 

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