by John Grant
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
As I was surfing through the Internet, I happened upon a news article about a small town mayor, who in a moment of thoughtlessness chose to drive after consuming alcohol. He was stopped and arrested for driving under the influence.
His honor apologized to the people of his town and to his family, taking full responsibility for his actions, but still lost the next election by seventy votes.
Not surprisingly press accounts were followed by reader comments. Some people salivate to jump at the first chance to vitriolically chastise anyone in public office who trips and falls. As I read through the comments, one caught my eye.
It was a picture of an attractive lady and her comment was simply: “He is my Dad and I love him.”
Our God is a God of forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John: 1:9).
All of us mess up from time to time and we are all sinners saved by grace. Justice is when we get what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. But grace is getting what we don’t deserve. God gives His people grace.
Our faith challenges us to forgive others as a condition precedent to receiving forgiveness for our self from the God of Heaven. How quick we are to condemn others without looking in the mirror and condemning our own life.
When King David confessed his adultery, the prophet Nathan said, “The Lord has taken away your sin.” (2 Samuel 12, 13) Zacchaeus used his position to extort money. When he admitted his wrongs, Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:9-10) “Cleanse Thou me from secret faults.” (Psalm 19:12) “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Like the mayor, when we fall short and take full responsibility and confess, God will forgive, cleanse and deliver us from our unrighteousness.
Then God will look down from heaven and say: “He is my child and I love him.”
That’s the kind of God I serve.
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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney