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Give forgiveness, even when it is not warranted

We are called to reconciliation. We are called to ask for forgiveness when we are wrong and to give forgiveness when it is asked of us.

It’s difficult for both parties. Asking forgiveness when you have done wrong and giving forgiveness when it’s asked of us (and we feel wronged) are both difficult tasks.

We are human. God is not. But we are all called to be like Christ.

When we come to Christ and ask for forgiveness and seek reconciliation with God, it seems we often give excuses for what we did or try to give reasons for why we did what we did. I don’t think God cares either way.

God seems to be more concerned with our heartfelt commitment to Him through Jesus Christ as savior. Regardless of our excuses and regardless of our “reasons.”

We have new opportunities each day to seek forgiveness. We may have reasons or excuses, but the bottom line is that God wants us reconciled to Him. Most people, most of “us,” are the same way.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says the following: “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.”

When the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church at Ephesus, they were preceded by these words: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

A stark reminder that we can have the excuses and reasons we want, but at the end of the day it is through grace and mercy that we are saved.

In the days following Easter Sunday, please remember that it is the grace of God and through the mercy of God that we have eternal life and a reconciled relationship with God through Christ.

But, don’t forget that in the model of Christ we need to be able to extend grace and mercy and forgiveness to others. Be reconciled with your fellow human being. Give forgiveness, even when it is not warranted. Ask for forgiveness, even when you think you are “in the right.”

Excuses and reasons aside, we are all in great need of mercy and forgiveness. And it runs both ways.

REV. BARRY VASSAR is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com