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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 25, 2020

Ask for forgiveness — or demand it?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

To reach out for and receive forgiveness is a Christian reality. When others ask us for forgiveness, it is our duty and responsibility to grant it. On the other hand, if we are the ones seeking forgiveness?

Forgiveness from our fellow man, even as from God, cannot be demanded. It can only be received. Occasionally guilty parties insist on being forgiven as if it were their right. You may hear something like, "OK. So I made a few mistakes. Well, I've repented of them. Now it's up to you to forgive me." That is not how forgiveness and reconciliation come about.

In the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 we read about how the prodigal son sought to reconcile with his father by saying, "I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son" (verse 21). What a statement of contrition! Although he desperately wanted to be forgiven, he didn't feel worthy to ask for it directly. Admirably, his father granted him forgiveness on the basis of his attitude, what he had been through and what it took for him to come back home.

The example of the prodigal son shows us that it's important for the guilty party (we are all the guilty party from time to time), to say unequivocally, "I am sorry for what I did. I'm really, really sorry. I feel so badly for what happened." Regret and remorse must be expressed in this honest and open manner for reconciliation to come about.

Remember that once others have been hurt or injured by our actions, it will take time for them to learn to trust again. They probably want to trust, but it will take time for healing to occur in order for reconciliation to run its course. Reconciliation truly is a process and it cannot be rushed or fast forwarded.

Forgiveness is a hallmark of the Church of God. Forgiveness is something that we all need from our Heavenly Father. Forgiveness is something that we all need from each other. Forgiveness must be sought. Forgiveness must be given. Only then can reconciliation be fully realized.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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