4th April 2012

“You’re Forgiven, You’re Forgiven!”

“Cheer up, son! For I have forgiven your sins!”
Matthew 9:2 (Living Bible)

I wonder how many children grow up in homes (and schools) where they’re constantly yelled at and punished for making mistakes? I wonder how it affects them in later life too.

I know how it affected me, because most of my childhood was spent in British boarding schools and I have vivid memories of how I was treated. I remember being locked in a room for bad behaviour and being left in total isolation; and many times being hauled out of bed at midnight to stand outside in the corridor, shivering with cold for hours.  During my teenage years I was constantly being punished, with the punishment sometimes extending for weeks.

I learned that the only way adults could deal with my lapses and stupidity was by punishment. They weren’t the least bit interested in my apologies or explanations for my behaviour, and there was never a hint of forgiveness. The only time I remember an adult even mildly accepting my apology and reason for my behaviour, the punishment was meted out anyway. So I assumed that even if I was forgiven, I’d still be punished.

Not surprisingly, then, when I became a Dad, I thought this was the way I should deal with my own children. I based my relationship with them on their behaviour. I didn’t forgive easily, if at all – until I realized how God operates with us. It was an eye-opener! All I could hear from God’s word was, “You’re forgiven, you’re forgiven!” Every stupid mistake I’d made, every lousy action I’d done, every rotten mood I’d ever been in, all of them had been erased by Christ’s death and wiped from God’s memory forever (Hebrews 8:12).

Years of guilt and self-loathing evaporated in seconds. My head was clear of it. It was so freeing that when I heard a crash in the kitchen and found my granddaughter cowering in the corner, crying her eyes out because she’d broken one of our dishes, I knew exactly what to do. I grabbed her by the shoulders and I yelled at her, “You’re forgiven, you’re forgiven!”

The effect was electric. She looked up at me, stopped crying, said, “OK,” and off she went, as happy as can be. It was amazing. I’d never experienced the power of forgiveness on someone else like that before. Her mind was completely cleared of all guilt and self-loathing, and off she scampered as if the incident had never happened.

And that’s all I remember of the incident now. I can’t remember what dish she broke. That memory has long gone. In its place is knowing the impact of Jesus’ words when he also said to a child, “Cheer up, son! For I have forgiven your sins!”

Great Father, now we can experience the power of your forgiveness on others, and it’s a joy to watch, for which we thank you.

Study by Jonathan Buck

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2 Responses to “4th April 2012”

  1. John Rodgers on April 4th, 2012 12:08 pm

    Thanks Jonathan for the above day by day. It makes such a difference to ourselves and others when we forgive. I remember when I asked God to give me the power to forgive by His Holy Spirit. The attitude oh hate and resentment being replaced by forgiveness is a marveleous gift of grace. It brings great peace of mind and also to the person which is forgiven as it allows love to grow between individuals. We cannot fully forgive others by our own strength we have to do it through the renewing of the Holy Spirit as Paul says in Romans 12 :2. Trying to forgive by our own strength only lasts a short time. Forgiving others as an ongoing way of life can only be acheived by Gods grace.

  2. Sandra Joseph on April 5th, 2012 6:57 am

    Thank you Jonathan. Your study clearly points out the relief and freedom forgiveness bestows as enjoyed by your grandchild. In contrast the pain you suffered as a child through its lack.
    The cross now becomes the throne that conquers sin and death and sets us free to love and forgive as Jesus did.

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