In our first installment on grace we talked about the aspect of surrender as it pertains to grace. We also touched on a common verse as it pertains to grace in which the apostle Paul talked about working out our grace daily. I think that we have only scratched the surface on the depth of that verse though I am sure that we will getting to know more about what I think it means. There are literally thousands of books written on the subject of grace and yet there appears to be this struggle to truly understand it. I think that truly understanding grace is a spiritual exercise in which arrival at a destination should not be the goal as much as maintaining a direction of movement. Surrender, as we talked about last time, I think is the cornerstone. There has to be a level of acceptance and in conjunction a giving of ourselves for grace to take hold and grow. As our key verse implies, the depth of grace and it’s effect in our lives is something that grows and I believe will continue to grow forever. The Lord tells us that even in eternity we will forever know Him more and yet never fully know Him. I think that this expresses the depth of God and in turn His grace.

I think the reason that there has been so many books written about grace is it’s depth and the difficulty to put it into a box and put a bow on it. Since I believe grace to be a fluid process I think that part of the struggle to understand it is the human finite mind wanting to quantify a concept that is not quantifiable. I don’t think that the fact that it is so deep exonerates us from trying to understand it as much as possible though. On that journey I want to do my best to discuss the many aspects of grace specifically areas with which I think we tend to struggle most. We already talked about surrender. Today I want to talk about forgiveness. Let me first say that none of these aspects operate in a vacuum or independently. I think that as we develop in one area of grace there has to be impact in other areas. I think that this can cause what appears to be regression of growth sometimes as we strive to fit the various aspects of grace together as growth in one area impacts another area and our thought of it.

Forgiveness is a delicate subject. Someone once said that everyone wants forgiveness for ourselves and justice for others. Unfortunately, I do not think that this viewpoint will work. Jesus told us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Easier said than done. To start down the path of considering forgiveness we first have to delineate what it is and define what it looks like in a particular circumstance. Forgiveness is the alleviation of the burden for an action or other transgression. I think that this is one of the issues people have with giving forgiveness and believe it or not receiving it also. If we are giving it we have to give up the right to revenge and in many cases the right for justice. Biblically, the forgiveness offered to us by the death of Jesus on the cross exonerates us of any burden for our sin. We are called to do the same for our fellow human beings. A tall task. Some people say I will forgive, but I will never forget. Within the context of grace I am not sure that this concept will work. I understand that trust is earned over time and appears to be a totally different discussion than grace, but we can forgive and over time even forget.

Giving forgiveness is something that I think can only truly be done within the context of the supernatural power of God. I believe that His Spirit must guide us in this process. Giving forgiveness applies to others and ourselves. In other words, unless we have accepted forgiveness and are doing that at a deeper level continuously for ourselves we will struggle to be forgiving. This is much more difficult than it would appear. Just like surrender, it is easy for many to understand the concept of forgiveness and our sins being cast as far as the east from the west and God choosing to remember them no more, but it is an entirely different thing to accept forgiveness deep in our soul and realize that we are clean, white as snow, just as if we had not sinned at all. Even with ourselves we tend to forgive but not forget. Now, I believe that we cheapen grace when we arbitrarily sin without thought of the consequence and sight grace as an excuse for us to sin as opposed to a cure from it, but we must understand that we do sin and sometimes we have areas of repeated sin in our lives that we are struggling to overcome. The difference to me is always direction and attitude. Forgiveness and an attitude that chooses to accept it and give it rely on a deeper relationship with God and understanding of grace. As we forgive more our relationship with Him grows and as our relationship with Him grows forgiveness becomes deeper. This is a key aspect to deepening and working out our grace daily.

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