The Art of Forgiveness
It’s hard for me to image over 2000 years ago that the early believers were starting from scratch. They didn’t even have parents who were believers.
I knew all but two of my great grandparents and they were all followers of Jesus. My grandparents were all believers. My parents were believers. The people the Apostles wrote to didn’t have the benefit of having a family of faith teaching them.
They didn’t grow up being told to forgive someone because it’s in the Bible. At my house, and at my grandparents’ house and at my great-grandparents’ house if it was in the Bible you DID it!
My great-grandmother and my grandmother on my Mother’s side played piano for church and they were seated at the piano every Sunday year in and year out.
All of my “people” knew what commitment to Jesus meant. They understood forgiveness. It was just something you do whether you want to or not.
That was not the case in the 1st Century. With the letters the Apostles sent to the new churches they were teaching those believers a new way to live. The new believers didn’t grow up learning about forgiveness as children. They were speaking to the new believers about how to forgive, how to love, and how to rely on the Spirit of God. All of the words they wrote were foreign, unknown, and unheard of until Jesus came. Even though Hebrew Scriptures chronicled the history of the Hebrew people and they were available to men, the message Jesus taught was about God’s personal love and redemption for all who believe.
It was a message of grace and forgiveness.
This message had not been heard of before.
I am also reminded they didn’t ‘get’ a brand new King James Bible presented to them in 3rd Grade Sunday School.
They didn’t have a Bible.
They didn’t get to read Jesus’ stories over and over again.
The Apostles heard Jesus speak the words and quote the Old Testament but they had to remember what Jesus said.
The letters sent to the churches were mostly written by Paul, who was highly educated. Paul knew the Old Testament because he would have memorized it in Rabbinical School. Many of the Apostles were not highly educated. They probably knew part of the Old Testament but not all of it because they left school to go home to become fishermen or the trade their father taught them.
At one point all of the disciples were sent home from school and they were given a trade. A lot of what they knew came from what they heard Jesus say.
All of that put together adds up to this: we are privileged.
Many of us came from a family of faith, from a country that allows us to worship as we choose, and we have the privilege of owning as many translations of the Bible as we choose.
A rough estimate of the number of Bible translations I own is 13 of the whole Bible, three more of the Old Testament in Hebrew, and two more of the New Testament in Greek.
The Online Bibles and resources we have available make the number of Bibles and Commentaries nearly endless. I have 5 apps that I favor and numerous commentaries I could use.
I am a privileged person.
I am blessed beyond measure.
I was taught to forgive as a small child. I have resources that teach me about forgiveness. I have tools. But I still struggle to forgive.
I am human.
We are human.
Only God can make us divine and fully forgiven and forgiving.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Thankfulness
Thank God for His Forgiveness
In God, Deborah