Heart of Forgiveness

Codepoke over at The Familyhood Church considers the question "In order for someone to be forgiven why must there be punishment at all?". He has some good thoughts on the question.

I thought I would look at forgiveness from the perspective of the heart. Isn't it interesting how some people view God as impersonal, unfeeling and distant. How easy it is to expect such an impersonal deity to overlook and forgive sin. It is analogous to a stranger visiting a funeral and wondering what the big deal was ... they don't hurt and don't understand why people are crying. We make a similar case against God if we relegate Him as a stranger to the human race. The book of Hebrews gives us a different picture ... speaking of Jesus it says:
We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all--all but the sin.
How different a picture of God that we see in Jesus. He was the most alive and most feeling person to ever walk the planet. He hurt with people - when He saw the hurting He was visibly moved with compassion. He laughed with people and enjoyed meals with friends. He was fully alive. He gave us an example of one who was fully connected with His heart.

Consider this passage where we see Jesus' beautiful forgiving heart:
"When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing.""
I am in awe of Jesus and His concern for those who nailed His hands and feet to the cross. When we say 'love like Jesus' we must also say 'forgive like Jesus'.

Sin is as personal and as hurtful as it gets ... it takes God to forgive sin ... either directly or through us. When we struggle forgiving we must realize that the struggle is a divinely personal one ... we need help to forgive ... in a sense we often need Jesus to forgive through us. Here as an excerpt from "The Hiding Place", Corrie Ten Boom's book that relates her experiences with the Nazi's in World War II:
It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” He said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggles to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.
If you struggle forgiving today take a cue from Corrie and ask Jesus to give you His Heart of Forgiveness.


  1. It is humbling that someone as awesome as Corrie Ten Boom could find her hand glued to her side. When I imagine the world of memories in her mind as that man said he was grateful to the Lord I am devastated. That the Lord was able to raise her hand right there in the heat of the moment is proof of Divine Power.



I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply.
You can click here to see my comment policy.