Radical Forgiveness

Dan Unekis

READ : Colossians 3:12-25

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (v. 13 NIV)

I grew up within the framework of a very black and white understanding of justice—an eye for an eye mentality. When I did something to upset my little brother, I would try to hide because I knew I would be punished according to the rule I had broken.

My strict understanding of justice was accompanied by a difficulty in understanding the concept of grace. Although I have always had a hard time wrapping my mind around grace, it is clearly central to the Christian message.

The call to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us is a humbling and daunting task. It calls us to forgive completely, no longer holding on to the anger that was caused by the offender or offense. Forgiveness beckons us to forfeit our desire for retribution. It can be a radical, life-changing action to truly forgive someone. It is something that we do not often see done in our culture. Even within our churches, we see people plagued with the stagnation of unforgiven offenses.

To understand forgiveness we must look to Jesus. Nobody knows what forgiveness costs in a more profound way than Jesus. He covered humanity’s sins with his blood and forgave them eternally. Forgiveness may not cost us our life, but it will cost us some of the control we like to have (or imagine having) over our life.

PRAYER

Lord, we praise you for your unconditional love and complete forgiveness. Amen.