Archive for the Forgiveness Category

The Prophet Micah teaches me about Forgiveness

Posted in Devotional Thought, Forgiveness on May 10, 2005 by Lee

I have more on the forgiveness of God:

In my reading today (Micah 5-7) I discover more about the depths of God’s forgiveness. The prophet Micah always asked great questions. Questions that at first seem to have some obvious answers, but when I meditate on the answer I see the depths of truth he communicates with his question.

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?” (6:6) The answer may seem obvious in 2 ways.

1. I cannot bring anything of worth before God (this is true). However, because I can bring nothing of any real worth to God I can come to the false conclusion that God expects nothing of me (this is false).

2. I can bring all my ‘doings’ in the name of God. I bring the vast numbers of things I do for the kingdom and lay them before God as if to say “look what I have done for you.” This is pride. Pride always leads me to focus upon myself and what I do (the sacrifices – 6:7) and not God.

The answer to the question is justice, steadfast love and humility (6:8). A verse we have all read before. Even through I have nothing of worth to offer God, he expects something of me. God expects me to do justice (his justice – more on this later). God expects me to walk and live through and in a steafast love for Him and those around me. God expects me to walk in humility before Him and others. God expects my focus to be Him and not me.

Another question Micah ask: “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression…” (7:18). The answer again is obvious – I know this. But when I reflect on it a bit deeper I see it more clearly. No other man made god forgives sin but still acts in justice. The one true God granted forgiveness (casting all our sin into the depths of the sea (7:19)) but still made justice for the sin. God poured it on His only Son. The one true God walks perfectly has a forgiver of sin and one who brings perfect justice for sin.

My forgiveness is found in the loving kindness of God and purchased by the wrath bearing of His Son. My forgiveness is great. The cost of it is enormous.

Oh God – help me to see the depth of my forgiveness. Help me to see the depth of your love and the wait of your wrath upon your son. Create in me a heart that understands I have nothing to give but requires my walking in humility. Create in me a heart that understands how my sin can be cast into the depths of the seas – that understands your compassion on me.

Realizing the depth of forgiveness will teach me deeper love.

Posted in Blogging, Devotional Thought, Forgiveness on May 6, 2005 by Lee

Well, I have been confronted with my failure as a blogger. He is my effort to get back on track. This is from a talk I will be sharing with some of my students.

I have a striking identification with many individuals of the Bible. Most of them are the sinners and tax collectors. Today in my reading it is no different. In Luke 7:36-50 we are introduced to two characters and their interaction with Jesus.

Character 1, Simon the Pharisee. In this passage he invites Jesus into his home to eat with him. I am not sure why Simon invites Jesus. I would guess curiosity. Maybe he wants to know a little bit more about this teacher / miracle worker who has burst on to the seen.

Maybe he is simply looking to find his flaw or a skeleton in his closet. Needless to say, he is an observer who wants to know more. We are not told why but he wants to see more of this Jesus.
Character 2, is the sinful woman. Luke does not tell us her name. I don’t think any one bothered to ask. She has one I am sure. Jesus knows her name just as he knows her sins. Yet she is only known as the sinful woman.

We are not told of her exact sin or even why she comes to see Jesus. But we can imply some things from the text. She knows she is sinful – she weeps greatly. She knows Jesus can help her – why would she risk walking into a Pharisee’s house. She knows she is not worthy – thus her humility with Jesus by washing and anointing His feet.

Two characters – both of which I find myself identifying with very often. Simon the Pharisee is a man of position. A position I am sure he took great pride in. People know him. He enjoys some fame and riches and all the privileges that go with them.

Yet he does not really see who Jesus is. His eyes seemed clouded by his pride. This is evident in his response to the sinful woman entering his house. All he could see was her sin. He could not get past it. Simon did not recognize the drawing of Jesus on this woman. How often I have allowed my pride to cloud my own vision and fail to see whom God is, what He is doing around me and whom He is drawing to himself.

I can be just like Simon. So busy looking at others sin I fail to see how my own pride has blinded me. “But I have position. I am a minister.” I think these things. So I stand on my position. Instead I should be crawling in humility.

This is what the sinful woman does. She comes humbly. She knows her own sin. She knows the depths of it. The guilt and shame of it drive her to tears. She takes the role of slave and washes the feet of Jesus. Her tears are the water. Her hair is the towel. She uses her very essence to wash His feet. You can’t get much lower than this.

She takes ointment and anoints his feet. Why? Why would she stoop to the very bottom there in front of Jesus and all others to see? Jesus explains why.

Jesus uses the story of a moneylender who is owed by two debtors. One a large amount the other a smaller amount. When neither can repay the lender forgives both debts. Jesus ask the question who will love more. Simon answers correctly the one who is forgiven more.

Jesus then compares the pride of Simon with the humility of the woman. The woman finds forgiveness through humility. Simon found confrontation and rebuke through his pride.

Does the reality of your sin drive you to feet of Jesus? Does the greatness of God’s forgiveness drive you to the feet of Christ? It should. Too often I am like Simon; I bank on my “position”, and well up in my pride. And every time I find rebuke at the end of it.

The forgiveness of my sin is great. It is so much larger than I can imagine. The cost of my forgiveness is enormous. This must drive me to humility. I must cry out from my very essence. It is only in humility that we can come to Jesus to find forgiveness.

I pray God will teach me the depths of my forgiveness so I may learn to love Him deeper.