A Definition of Forgiveness

I came across this description of forgiveness in a book I’ve been reading, and I found it very helpful. Maybe you will, too Since the book isn’t specifically Christian, I’ve added my own words in bold to include my theological perspective..

Forgiveness is the act of admitting we are like other people.(we’re sinners). We are prone to make mistakes (sin) that cause confusion, inflict pain, and miscommunicate our intentions. We are the recipients of those human errors (sin) and the perpetrators (sinners). There is no way we can avoid hurting others or being hurt by others (sinning), because that is the nature of our imperfection (original sin). The only choice we have is to reconcile ourselves to our own flaws (sin) and the flaws (sin) of other people, or withdraw from the community (the church). If we choose to withdraw, we withdraw both from our humanness and from our connection to the sacred (God). Adapted from Life’s Companion by Christina Baldwin

This leads me to another thought, why do we go to such lengths to avoid the word, sin? It seems to be the one unacceptable word in our culture today. I guess that’s a topic for another post.

For more on forgiveness see:

A World Without Forgiveness

The Opportunity of Forgiveness

Forgiveness: It Does a Body Good

A Prayer Confessing our Sins

This prayer was used for confession of sins at the Lutheran church I recently attended. It certainly touches on some of my besetting sins, so maybe you will see yourself in it as well.

Almighty God, merciful Father,

We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. We have done things we should not have done, and we have failed to do the things we should have done. We have been impatient. We have grumbled. We have been critical of others and we have been difficult. We have used coarse language and have taken Your name in vain. We have sought and received Your forgiveness and, then, we have refused to forgive our neighbor. Father, forgive us, renew us, and lead us so that we may be merciful, even as You are merciful. Amen

For more prayers see:

Martin Luther’s Prayer about the Word

A Prayer of Surrender

A Penitent Prayer

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 10

For thousands of years, the priests of the temples sacrificed animals to atone for our sins. I cannot imagine how many animals were killed, but because they were not the perfect sacrifice, it never provided the perfect atonement necessary for us. We received the perfect sacrifice from Jesus Christ on the cross. The prior sacrifices were a constant reminder of our sinful nature and that we would never receive the complete atonement we craved. It took our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, to provide the necessary perfect sacrifice. The moment He did the first covenant was abolished, and the new covenant, the atonement of our sins through the blood of Christ, was installed.

What a wonderful gist He gave us.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

The Five Solas, pt. 2

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Grace Alone

The second Sola I’m writing about is Grace Alone.  It goes with the Faith: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)  Gee, what else can I write, that about says it all.

God’s Grace is so amazing.  The ancient Hebrews built altars to sacrifice animals, birds and grain to atone for sins.  We have Christ, who sacrificed himself for us.  You see, there had to be sacrifice for the atonement of all mankind’s sins.  That is the way God first set it up.  So God sent his Son to do be the sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world.

OK, you say, so everyone is saved.  Not quite.  That’s where the faith comes in.  We have to have the faith in Christ, believe that he died for us, to accept this gift that he gave us.  It’s like a billionaire giving away money.  If you were told that you could have an amount of money (let’s make it big, $100,000) for free, all you had to do is go and accept it, you’d do that, right?  Whooo Hoo, someone is giving away money, let’s go!!  If only we felt the same way about God’s wonderful and amazing gift.  We don’t need to do a thing, just accept it.

OK, you say, so I’ll just keep sinning to get more Grace.  It’s true, we are all sinners and we all sin each and every day.  But in his letter to the Romans, Paul address this:  “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?    By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”  (Romans 6:1-2)  No, you will not want to sin anymore.  Once you’ve been given this gift you will not want to sin. 

So…  Grace Alone by Faith Alone.  We’re building to the best part: Christ Alone.

What Freedom?

What freedom do we enjoy as a Christian? The freedom from death. We have eternal life through the salvation of Jesus Christ, not anything we do, but from God. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I live in America, the land of the free, but unfortunately it seems that this country has lost the best freedom it could have. We live in a society where God is not allowed in school, business or government; and at the same time we have the audacity to ask Him to bless us. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We want everything we feel we deserve, even though we don’t deserve anything, and do not want to give anything back for it. I know some will be upset by what I am saying; but before you get all self righteous and indignant; ask yourself this question – Do you stand up for Him in your daily life? Or do you hide behind being politically correct? Remember Jesus told us “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father, who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
The freedoms we are taught that we deserve by being citizens of the U.S.A. are NOT the best freedom we have access to. That freedom is the freedom from death and the thought of eternal life.
Always remember
God Loves You And So Do I
Michele Edgel

A Prayer of Penitence

John Donne: A Prayer of Penitence

Act of Penitence
Forgive me, Lord, my sins
The sins of my youth,
The sins of the present;
The sins I laid upon myself in an ill pleasure,
The sins I cast upon others in an ill example;
The sins which are manifest to the whole world,
The sins which I have labored to hide from mine acquaintance,
            From mine own conscience,
            And even from my memory;
My crying sins and my whispering sins,
My ignorant sins and my willful;
Sins against my superiors, equals, servants,
Against my lovers and benefactors,
Sins against myself, mine own body, mine own soul,
Sins against thee, O almighty Father, O merciful Son,
            O blessed Spirit of God.
Forgive me, O Lord, through the merits of thine Anointed, my Savior, Jesus Christ.

John Donne

Once again something for the literary among us!

The Ultimate Sacrifice

It’s Good Friday.  Some Christians don’t like to think about the atonement:  too gory, too depressing.  As Lutherans we walk through the entire journey of Jesus, knowing there is no Easter without Good Friday.  Today is a day to meditate on the crucifixion and the sins that caused it to happen.  Think about the words of this hymn, Ah, Holy Jesus.

1. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

2. Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

3. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

4. For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

5. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Martin Luther on the sacrifice of Christ

“In His life Christ is an example, showing us how to live;  in His death He is a sacrifice, satisfying for our sins.”

Christ made the greatest sacrifice imaginable for us.  How should we then live?

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